Formula 1 - Ex-F1 doctor tells Schumacher fans to fear worst

Formula One's former doctor has told fans of Michael Schumacher to fear the worst and has questioned how the seven-time world champion has been treated.

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Formula 1 - Ex-F1 doctor tells Schumacher fans to fear worst
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Michael Schumacher (Reuters)

Doctors are still trying to wake up Schumacher from his coma, three months after he suffered a devastating skiing accident in the South of France.

The process of trying to bring him out of his medically induced coma has now entered its eight week and the duration of the process is a very bad sign according to Formula 1's former chief doctor Dr Gary Hartstein.

"As time goes on it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent," he wrote on his personal blog.

Harstein, who was Formula One's chief medic between 2005 and 2012 and is now a clinical professor of emergency medicine at the University of Liege Hospital in Belgium, also questioned Schumacher's treatment after the initial accident in Meribel, in which the motor racing legend fell and hit his head on a rock.

"I think that serious lapses in judgement were evident during Michael’s initial management (I have this from usually impeccable sources who have access to this information)," Hartstein wrote.

"Because these lapses could (and almost certainly did) worsen the outcome in Michael’s case, it is possible that the staff at Grenoble feel duty-bound to NOT place any pressure on the family to transfer out (out the hospital), despite the terribly dismal prognosis . . . because of the clear (but unquantifiable) contribution of medical misjudgement to that prognosis."

Schumacher has been in intensive care in Grenoble University Hospital since his December 29 accident, in which the blow to his head was strong enough to crack his helmet.

After surgery to reduce bleeding and bruising he was placed in an induced coma and his body temperature was lowered to reduce the risk of further damage. The 'waking-up' process began at the end of January.

Since then updates have been sparing and Harstein said that he thought the lack of information coming out from Schumacher's family might actually help fans cope with any terrible news that may come.

"I always knew Michael was adored. I spent years at circuits drenched in red by the Ferrari caps, flags, and shirts, and all of that for Michael. I'm still staggered by the depth and persistence of his fans' love for him.

"And whereas I worried more than a bit about what was going to happen when and if really bad news got announced, I've realised that 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.

"And I think this is probably one of the unexpected 'benefits' to the media strategy chosen by Michael’s family. Somehow, I get the feeling that people are going to be ok, no matter what happens, because they’ve now had the time to process this all. I just regret that to get here, you’ve all had to work through feeling abandoned. That will go away too. I hope."

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