Jan 172014

Michael Schumacher medical situation is unchanged as he continue to remain in critical condition. The former F1 racing driver could be kept in induced coma for the rest of life, according to some neurosurgeons interviewed by the German publication Focus.

Michael Schumacher skiing

Michael Schumacher might face a brain death situation, neurologists say (Credit: Ferrari, Autoblog)

Michael Schumacher has been in induced coma since December 29, 2013, when he suffered a accident while skiing in the French resort of Meribel. Typically, patients are taken out of the induced coma after 1-2 weeks. “It might have been complications. We should not speculate. Brain injuries are among the most complicated injuries that may occur to the human body. No predictions can be made about the period during which a person may recover from the coma or possible complications,” said Dr. Andreas Ziegler.

“It is a matter of life and death. Theoretically, an induced coma can be maintained for a lifetime. It would not damage the brain”, added Dr. Ziegler.

“If Michael Schumacher wakes up, he will not be the same Michael Schumacher. Recovery may be successful if the patient adapts to his new life. Patients should be able to cope with the limitations that their life has changed,” declared Richard Greenwood for the Times of London, according to Focus magazine, which published the opinions of several experts neurosurgeons on the condition of the former Formula 1 Champion.

Michael Schumacher first sign of life: He moved his lips, unveiled Felipe Massa

Focus quotes Doctor Dirk Repkewitz doctor, a department head at Günzburg hospital, who explains how patients in coma are fed. “In the beginning is done through a catheter and then try inserting a tube into the stomach. Thus, infections are avoided. Risk is that such a procedure does not succeed, because the patient might vomit or loses gastric juice,” said Dirk Repkewitz.

In early January, Professor Gereon Fink from Cologne (Koln), a professional neurologist, said that Michael Schumacher health is more serious affected than initially thought. “Normally, doctors are trying to remove a patient from induced coma as soon as possible to see how long he can be conscious. But if the injuries are so severe that it would be harmful, the patient is still held in a coma. Depending on the area where cranial bleeding occur, Schumacher can paralyze, have difficulty in speaking or face a personality disorder,” said Fink.

As to when Schumacher would be out of a coma, Peter Vajkoczy, head of neurosurgery at the hospital “Charité” in Berlin, said: “Patients can be kept in this state 3-4 weeks. The period of artificial coma does not indicate prognosis and and can’t provide clues on the further development of health.

Nevertheless, it is an indication that Michael Schumacher suffered a strong trauma and his intracranial pressure is still very high. As long as the skull pressure is not under control, doctors will decide to keep him in a coma state.”

Doctors feed Michael Schumacher with a tube which was inserted directly into the stomach of the patient. Experts in the field say that thus infections are prevented even if there is a risk that the patient may vomit or lose gastric acid.

UPDATE: Ex-F1 Doctor Gary Hartstein: Schumacher may remain in vegetative state

Michael Schumacher, the Ferrari legend who is in induced coma for several weeks after the skiing accident suffered at the end of last year, “will not be the same guy you know, if he wakes up,” said on Thursday, a specialist in brain injury at the University College London, cited by Focus.

According to Bild newspaper, the seven times Formula One world champion was subjected to new tests by French doctors who will determine which parts of his brain are affected. Sources close to the medical team say there is still a risk that the patient developed unexpected complications, such as infections or cerebral hemorrhage.

Schumacher underwent so far a surgery that doctors had removed a small portion of his skull to relieve pressure on the brain. Frederic Rossi, a Swiss neurosurgeon, said that besides the obvious benefits it brings to the patient, a surgical intervention of this type involves also serious risks, ranging from inflammation and bleeding to the opening of the outer membrane of the brain. Doctors say that it may take weeks or even months till they will provide new official information.

Video: Michael Schumacher fights for his life after ski accident in Meribel, France



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