Doctor: Schumacher coma recovery reports 'almost certainly false'
Doctors have voiced grave concerns and doubts about the chances of Michael Schumacher making a full recovery, despite his management team revealing he is “no longer in a coma”.
The 45-year-old was transferred from Grenoble university hospital, where he had been a coma since his accident last December, to a rehabilitation clinic in Lausanne after he suffered brain injuries in his French skiing accident.
Sabine Kehm, his manager said he was no longer in the artificial coma that the driver had been placed in since early January and would begin the “long process” of rehabilitation, but doctors have now dismissed reports about the driver being “no longer in a coma” as nothing new.
Former Formula One physician, Dr Gary Hartstein, said in his blog: “We are told, with what appears to be a bit of a triumphal air, that Michael is no longer in a coma.
“This is not news. I cannot help but think that this is a highly cynical use of language, using the truth to convey an impression that is almost certainly false.
“I cannot but think that if Michael had emerged at all from the minimally conscious state that Sabine so accurately described in April, we’d be told that Michael is leaving for rehab, that he is having problems expressing himself and will work hard to get better. Or that he’s having to learn to walk, read, write etc all over again.
“But no, we’re told what we already know, and pretty much told not to ever expect further updates.
“This all leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and a huge space of sadness for Michael’s family.”
Dr Martin Grond, a neurologist at Siegen hospital near Bonn, added that the reports about Schumacher’s medical condition did not provide adequate information
“There is no word about his brain functions,” he told Spiegel Online in an interview. “Everything from a waking coma to a substantial recovery is possible in principle.”
Meanwhile, German neurosurgeon Andreas Pingel told Focus magazine that on average only a quarter of patients who suffer serious brain damage manage a full recovery.
“Only between 10 and 30 percent of these patients have disabilities which are tolerable,” he said.
Darcy Christen, head of media at CHUV Lausanne, said Schumacher’s stay at the facility would likely be a lengthy one.
“It won’t be days. It could be for the long-haul,” he said.
Germany’s Bild newsaper reported that Schumacher is now able to respond to the sound of his wife Corinna’s voice.