Dr. J. P. Hubert
May 9, 2011
Alleged New bin Laden Video, Surprisingly Shows Normal Left Arm
In the fall of 2001 a video appeared of Osama bin Laden that depicted a man who appeared unable to move his left upper extremity. At the time it was suggested that he had experienced a wound to his left shoulder, presumably injuring his left brachial plexus (multiple peripheral nerves which pass into the left upper extremity in very close proximity transiting the left shoulder region).
If this actually occurred, it was no doubt due to shrapnel (many small metallic pieces of ammunition which result from the breakup of a ballistic or frangible type bullet(s) as it breaks up). Depending upon the precise nature of the injury to the peripheral nerves, the motor deficit of the entire left upper extremity would likely be permanent especially if the injury was severe and affected all “3″ main peripheral nerves that control motor movement of the upper extremity.
Interestingly, a review of the alleged new bin Laden video in which he is depicted in a sitting position while watching television show him moving his left upper extremity in what appears to be a normal fashion. While not impossible medically, it would be unlikely that bin Laden would be able to move his left upper extremity in such a normal fashion not to mention that his documented severe degree of renal failure in 2000 and 2001 would strongly suggest that he died in December 2001.
Had the alleged bin Laden in the most recently released video demonstrated either a total paralysis or partial paresis of his left upper extremity, it would have been more believable.