Schumacher out of hospital but is 'cynical' update misleading?

Jun 16, 2014

Formula 1 legend to continue rehabilitation in Switzerland, but his condition may not have changed


The news that Michael Schumacher has emerged from a coma and left the hospital in Grenoble where he has been treated for the past six months has been greeted with delight in many quarters, but his fans have been warned that the announcement could be a "cynical" move designed to create a false impression that his condition is improving.

The unexpected news of his condition came in a statement from Schumacher's family, delivered by his agent Sabine Kehm on Monday.

Schumacher has been taken to a clinic in Switzerland "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation", said Kehm. "He is no longer in a coma."

She also reitereated the family's plea for privacy, stating "we ask for your understanding that his further rehabilitation should take place outside of the public". But she also thanked the F1 legend's fans for their support. "You have certainly helped him," she said.

Reports in France said his treatment would continue at a specialist unit at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne in Switzerland.

Schumacher has been in a coma since he hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste at the Alpine resort of Meribel.

He was placed in an induced coma after the accident, but doctors began reducing the sedatives in a bid to bring him round at the end of January.

There was little news of his condition until April, when his family said the seven-time F1 champion had begun showing "moments of consciousness and awakening".

According to German newspaper Bild he can now respond to voices and physical touch. "He can communicate with his environment, especially his wife Corinna and his children," says the paper, which adds that he "no longer needs the help of specialists in Grenoble".

However, former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein, who has regularly blogged on Schumacher's condition, says the announcement that Schumacher is no longer in a coma is not news, as that has been the case since April. He is, and almost certainly remains, says Hartstein, in a "minimally conscious state".

He adds that the statement "says nothing about whether or not Michael is breathing spontaneously" and even claims that it uses "cynical" language to "convey an impression that is almost certainly false".

The "triumphal air" of the statement leaves "a bad taste", says Hartstein, as it actually confirms that he is making little or no progress.

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Stupid ex f1 doc never even met schu nor knows his condition he wrote him off from the start and is still trying to convince people that his incorrect info is real, he's not news worthy, Michael started to awaken in April, now he's out of a coma so how is it not news. He wasn't an f1 doc for 5 mins and this is the reason he's not in the job now. I'm an ex f1 photographer and have been getting news before the general media as my fb. & twitter followers know and anything positive that's been denied has turned out true, don't listen to this pathetic headline grabbing attention seeking f1 reject!!

A vegetative state is nott much different from a coma .I had a friend 25 years this way after a motor vehicle accident.When he went it was a blessing for him and his family .For Schumacher I hope this is not the case cause its certainly not what anyone wants..People often want to keep people alive for there own reasons, but believe me for someone who has experienced what this family is about to experience its the worst possible outcome if the person is just waiting for something to eventually take their life like infection along with other numerous things. A persons quality of life is very important and this doctor makes that clear and people need to think carefully about the person who going through it and what lies ahead and put their own personal needs aside....When you you go through something you than have an understanding believe me..