ABC News President Issues Update on Bob and Doug

ByABC News
February 23, 2006, 4:41 PM

Feb. 23, 2006 — -- ABC News president David Westin sent the following e-mail to his colleagues today:

I have a good progress report on both Bob and Doug. As I send this to you, Doug and Vivian have checked out of Bethesda Medical Center and are on their way home to France. I spoke to them both this morning. They're in good spirits and looking forward to getting back to their children at home. Doug will continue to undergo further treatment in Europe and will return to the United States for checkups as he continues to recover.

Doug and Vivian wrote the following note that they asked me to pass along to all of you:

We don't know how to thank every single person from ABC News for what they have done for us. Some of you we know -- some we haven't met yet. But from the moment of the attack in Iraq until today, we have just been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and kindness.

We are now on our way back to France for the next phase of rehabilitation. Bob and I were already close friends from so many years together on the road. Now, both our families have bonded together in life and in our eternal gratitude to Vinnie and Magnus whose hands were the first to reach out to Bob and me on the ground that day. We also want to send a special thank-you to our friend Robin Weiner, whose unique sense of humor and outstanding overall support helped Vivi throughout this roller coaster.

We cannot thank the members of the U.S. military enough. The care that we have received from Baghdad to Balad and from Landstuhl to Bethesda has been extraordinary. They have looked after us above and beyond the call of duty. Our hearts go out to all those injured in the line of fire. We are truly grateful to have received treatment that is second to none, and this has helped us embark on the next stage of our recovery. Thank you all.

Doug and Vivi Vogt

Bob also continues to make good progress. The doctors are slowly bringing him out of sedation and are very pleased with the progress they've seen so far, especially in the last few days. As the doctors have explained to Lee and the family, the process of lowering the sedation is a slow one; that's so Bob can continue to heal and remain as comfortable as possible while he deals with the understandable pain associated with his injuries.

Despite the fact that he continues to be mildly sedated, Bob has been out of bed in a chair, and his physical strength continues to impress his entire team. Bob's responses to Lee and the children have been even more heartening -- Lee told me that Bob "reacts to their voices, returns their smiles and is initiating kisses."

Once again, we all have to be patient. We've come some distance, but we still have a long way to go. Bob and his family will continue to need our support and our prayers. But in another sign of Bob's moving along his path to recovery, the doctors have said that in the next few weeks it is reasonable to expect that he will be able to move to care facilities in the New York area, bringing him closer to his family, his home and the support structure here.