independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Michael Schumacher shows ‘slight improvement’ after second operation

Jean-Francois Payen (L), head anaesthetician at the CHU hospital, and Emmanuel Gay (R), head of neurosurgery unit at today's news conference at the CHU hospital emergency unit in Grenoble,
Jean-Francois Payen (L), head anaesthetician at the CHU hospital, and Emmanuel Gay (R), head of neurosurgery unit at today's news conference at the CHU hospital emergency unit in Grenoble,

The medical condition of seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is slightly better on Tuesday following a second operation during the night to treat head injuries he sustained in a skiing accident, doctors said.

"The situation is more under control than yesterday but we cannot say he is out of danger," Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician told a news conference at the CHU hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble.

"We have won some time but we must continue an hour-by-hour surveillance... It is premature to speculate on his condition," he said, adding that it could still be qualified as "critical".

Emmanuel Gay, head of the hospital's neurosurgery service, said the operation carried out during the night involved removing a large hematoma - the medical term for a build-up of blood - from the left-hand side of Schumacher's brain.

"It was larger and more accessible (than others) ... We judged we could remove it without taking any risks," Gay said.

He said the operation was designed to reduce, within Schumacher's skull, the pressure on the brain, which suffered injuries including lesions and contusions from Sunday's fall.

The operation took place at 10pm last night and lasted two hours which presented the medical team with their “window of opportunity”.

The retired motor racing champion, 44, slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste on Sunday morning in the French Alpine resort of Meribel, where he has a vacation home.

Doctors said the fact that he was wearing a helmet had enabled him to make it to the hospital alive.

The team present at the press conference added that his situation was different to yesterday, buit would not be drawn into any forecasts over future developments.

"The surgical intervention allowed us to control the situation and this morning it is slightly better than yesterday.

"In intensive care, things can go well and bad very quickly. We're gaining a bit of time," Professor Payen added

 “We're still concerned and we're still worried. We can't tell ourselves we've won.

"The situation is slightly better over the last 24 hours, but we must be realistic."

Payen said the medical team in Grenoble had discussed the operation with Schumacher's family. He said the condition of the German motor racing great was still too fragile to consider transferring him to another hospital for the time being.

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