Schumacher: hope fades as F1 medic highlights 'errors'

Gary Hartstein says there is 'less and less' chance of recovery, but denies blaming hospital staff

LAST UPDATED AT 13:43 ON Wed 26 Mar 2014

THERE is "less and less" chance of Michael Schumacher emerging from his coma and fans should be prepared for the worst says former Formula 1 doctor, Gary Hartstein, who has also claimed that there were "serious lapses" in the way racing driver was managed in the aftermath of the ski accident in December.

Writing on his blog Hartstein said errors in the aftermath of the crash "could (and almost certainly did) worsen the outcome in Michael's case".

The seven-time Formula 1 champion has now been in a coma in hospital in Grenoble, France, for three months. Updates on his condition have been few and far between, but the lack of information on attempts by doctors to wake him has raised fears that he is in a persistent vegetative state.

"As time goes on... it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent," said Hartstein. "Perhaps the lack of status updates has given us all a chance to move on a bit, to process what’s happening, and to start to... detach."

Hartstein, described by The Independent as a "key figure in the [F1] paddock" between 2005 and 2012, said reports that Schumacher had lost 25 per cent of his weight were plausible.

He added that his criticisms of the racing driver's "initial management" were based on "usually uimpeccable" sources.

In a later blog the 58-year-old American sought to clarify his comments. He insisted that he was not criticising anyone at the hospital where Schumacher is being treated or those who treated him on the slope and later transferred him to Grenoble.

Instead, he said, he was criticising a system that allowed a patient with a head injury to be sent to a non-neurological centre.

"The failure to adequately control an agitated patient prior to flight, as well as the delays in adequate control of the airway likely indicate insufficient training, insufficiently robust protocols, and perhaps insufficient experience under difficult circumstances," he added. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.