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PRECEDE Wayne, Mich. Former Hostage Returns Home after Seizure

December 9, 1991

CLARK LAKE, Mich. (AP) _ Freed hostage Alann Steen, who suffered brain damage from a beating by one of his captors in Lebanon, had a seizure shortly after arriving in the United States and spent the night in a hospital.

Steen, 52, was released Sunday after the seizure Saturday, which came after he got into a limousine at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for a 75-mile drive to his wife’s house in Clark Lake.

″Much better now,″ Steen said of how he felt as he left Annapolis Hospital in suburban Wayne for Clark Lake.

About 30 friends and neighbors turned out to cheer Steen when he arrived.

″Finally I got him home,″ Virginia Steen said. ″I thought last night ... I was in tears knowing all the people that were here waiting for him, but finally he’s home.″

Steen spoke only briefly before he and his wife went into the house, which was decorated with signs, ribbons and American flags.

″I felt bad slighting you people last night,″ he said. About 60 well- wishers had been on hand to welcome Steen on Saturday.

Steen had the seizure after he arrived in Michigan from Frankfurt, Germany, with a stopover in Boston. He was admitted to the hospital for observation.

″He suddenly blacked out and was unable to speak,″ Dr. Surindar Jolly said after the attack. Steen was unconscious for a minute or two and was coherent when he reached the hospital several minutes later, Jolly said.

″Alann’s had a good night’s rest and is very much looking forward to the last leg of his journey home,″ Mrs. Steen said in a statement after spending the night at her husband’s side.

Steen was freed Dec. 3 after nearly five years as a captive in Beirut. He said Thursday an unprovoked attack by his kidnapper in 1987 left him with permanent brain damage, forcing him to take drugs to control seizures and blackouts.

″His condition is very stable and he has had no more seizures,″ Mrs. Steen said. ″His medication has been adjusted, and his spirits are high. ... After arriving home, we will be following up with his care.″

The seizures affect the left side of Steen’s brain, which controls sensations such as touch and pain, Jolly said. Steen probably will be susceptible to similar seizures for the rest of his life, Jolly said.

Steen’s seizure occurred without warning, Jolly said.

″He’s handling it very well. He’s smiling, he’s very vocal, and he looks to be in good health,″ Jolly said.

An Annapolis nurse was to accompany the Steens to Clark Lake and make sure arrangements are in place for his continued medical care, said hospital spokesman Roger Chapman.

Mrs. Steen said earlier that the medicine her husband had been put on at the U.S. Air Force Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany, hadn’t reached therapeutic levels yet, so the seizures had been possible.

Steen, a Beirut University College communications professor, was kidnapped Jan. 24, 1987.

Two other American hostages also were freed last week: Terry Anderson, 44, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press; and Joseph Cicippio, 61, acting comptroller for the American University of Beirut.

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