Fears are growing that Michael Schumacher will not recover in his battle for survival following a skiing accident that left him in a coma.
Last week hopes were raised when Dr Jean-Francois Payen stated that Schumacher was out of the coma and a recovery within three years was possible.
But despite the best of treatment at a cost of over €100k a week in a state-of-the-art facility, the former Formula One champion has shown little improvement since the accident last December.
"I have seen some progress but I would say give him time. It's like other patients, we are in a timescale that ranges from one year to three years, so it takes patience," Dr Payen said last week..
But, according to the Express, that statement has been played down by Dr Gary Hartstein, a former Formula 1 doctor who has known Schumacher for years.
He said: "We are told, with what seems to be a bit of a triumphal air, that Michael is no longer in a coma.
"I cannot help but think this is highly cynical use of language, using the truth to convey an impression that is almost certainly false.
"I cannot help but think that if Michael had emerged at all from the minimally conscious state we would be told that he is having problems expressing himself and will work hard to get better or that he is having to learn to walk, read and write all over again.
"This all leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and huge sadness for Michael’s family.
"As time goes on it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent."