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Saturday 23 August 2014

Michael Schumacher's medics deny his treatment was 'delayed'

Tony Patterson

Published 19/04/2014 | 11:33

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Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident in the French Alps
Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident in the French Alps in December

The medical team caring for hospitalised Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has denied claims that the driver’s treatment for head injuries was needlessly delayed after his serious skiing accident last year and insisted that their actions helped save his life.

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Schumacher suffered severe brain injuries after striking a rock while skiing at the French resort of Meribel in late December. The German racer has been in a medically induced coma at Grenoble Unversity hospital where he has been treated since January.

Medical experts, including the Formula One physician Dr Gary Harstein, have claimed that Schumacher’s injuries may have been worsened because the rescue helicopter which evacuated him made a stopover at a smaller hospital in the French town of Moûtiers on the day of the accident.

They have claimed that his treatment may have been needlessly delayed by the stopover and have argued that it led to Schumacher being delivered to the Grenoble hospital some forty minutes later than would otherwise have been the case, thus robbing doctors of valuable time.

However Schumacher’s medical team has told Germany’s Stern magazine that the Moûtiers stopover helped save the driver’s life. They told Stern that the decision to land at the smaller hospital, which is only five minutes by air from the accident site, was necessary to stabilise their patient.

 Stern said the medical team had told the magazine that Schumacher had become comatose shortly after the rescue helicopter took off from the accident site and that he needed to be stabilised at Moûtiers hospital before undertaking the longer flight to Grenoble.

A fortnight ago, Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, revealed for the first time that the driver appeared to be making a slow recovery: “Michael is making progress. He is showing moments of consciousness and wakefulness. We remain confident,” she said in a statement. She did not elaborate further on his condition or on his chances of making a full recovery.

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