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POW's Memory Is Casualty Of War

U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, seen in this undated photo, was captured March 23 after her 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company convoy was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. The 19-year-old Army supply clerk was rescued from a hospital in that city by U.S. commandos on April 1.
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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 information sheds new light on a small part of the war that 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."

Speaking with CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith, Jessica's brother, Army Pfc. Greg Lynch, said her recovery — both physical and psychological — has proceeded well. She recently celebrated her 20th birthday with her family at Walter Reed hospital.

"Every day is a better day for her," Lynch said. "She's just like we were just when we were back home."

However, Jessica Lynch still cannot stand on her own power, and Greg Lynch said there is no date for her release from the hospital.

As for her memories of the attack, "That's an issue we don't really bug with her."

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

In an April 2, briefing, Central Command spokesman Gen. Vincent Brooks said of the raid: "There was not a fire fight inside of the building, I will tell you, but there were fire fights outside of the building, getting in and getting out."

At the same briefing, Brooks showed dramatic film and still pictures of the raid. In one photograph, Lynch is shown aboard a U.S. helicopter with a folded American flag on her chest.

But reports have emerged that the raid may have been unnecessary because there was no resistance at the hospital.

Since the raid, 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 after which she was captured 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.

Shortly after her release, Jessica's father said her wounds were not battle related. But staff at the Iraqi hospital deny any claims that she was mistreated while there.

According to her brother, Jessica is aware, but not in awe, of how widely her story has been told.

"She's not really looking at it as being a so-called celebrity star or a hero or anything. She's just being herself," Greg Lynch told Smith.

The Iraqi lawyer who tipped U.S. soldiers off to Lynch's location was granted asylum in the United States this week.