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Doctor: Lynch Has No Memory of Ambush

Doctor: Lynch Has No Memory of Ambush

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's unlikely that Pfc. Jessica Lynch will ever remember what happened in Iraq when her Army convoy was ambushed and she was taken as a prisoner of war, her doctor said Thursday.

This incident has been shrouded in secrecy, with various versions only now emerging about Lynch's injuries nearly seven weeks ago and the commando raid that rescued her April 1.

Doctors have completed surgeries for various fractures and broken bones that the 20-year-old Army clerk suffered in the war and she is "progressing very nicely" in her rehabilitation, said Dr. Greg Argyros.

But she has "no memory whatsoever of any of the events from the time her convoy came under attack until she woke up" in an Iraqi hospital, said Argyros, assistant chief for the Department of Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and head of the team handling Lynch's care.

He said it's not a case of amnesia, which he defined as forgetting something you once knew. Rather, Lynch simply has no memory of the ambush March 23 that resulted in her capture.

"Anytime anybody goes through a traumatic event of any kind, there is the risk that they may have a period that they don't remember what happened" during that event, Argyros said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

Asked if she will ever remember, Argyros said there's only a small chance.

"It appears after the evaluations that we have done thus far, that there's a chance in the future that she may," he said. "But the likelihood is very low that she will remember any of the events from the time of the attack until the time she woke up in the Iraqi hospital."

Officials said last month that Lynch was rescued in a daring commando raid April 1 at the hospital in the southern town of Nasiriyah, with special forces breaking down doors and spiriting her away.

Since then, several news organizations reported differing versions of the rescue, citing doctors who said they had tried earlier to take Lynch to American forces but were fired on as they approached.

Those reports said that her Iraqi captors had left the hospital during the last days of March and that hospital medical staff took Lynch in an ambulance to a U.S. checkpoint but couldn't get close enough to hand her over.

A couple of days later, U.S. troops burst into the hospital, doctors said, adding that they could simply have walked in with no problem because there were no Iraqi guards left.

Military officials have said that Lynch's last memory of the attack is a rocket-propelled grenade hitting the vehicle she was riding in.

Some time after that, she suffered fractures in her upper right arm and in several ribs, along with injuries to her back, right foot and upper shoulder blade. She also suffered breaks in two portions of her left leg, part of her right leg and lacerations of her scalp, Argyros said.

Emotionally, she is doing very well.

"Her attitude is terrific, " he said. "She really is pushing to move forward... She is a resilient young woman."

Earlier Thursday, her brother, Army Spec. Greg Lynch told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he still wears an missing-in-action bracelet engraved "Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch, MIA, March 23, 2003, Iraq."

"I'll wear it til my wrist falls off," he said, standing in a hangar at Ft. Brag, N.C., where he is an Apache helicopter ammunition technician.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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