The Telegraph
Saturday , February 8 , 2014
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‘Pneumonia a big risk to Michael’

Michael Schumacher

Grenoble: Doctors treating comatose Formula One legend Michael Schumacher at the Grenoble University Hospital (GUH) have denied rumours that the seven-time world champion has passed away.

A statement issued by the hospital on Friday read: ‘The hospital denies that Michael Schumacher has died’, putting an end to wild speculations on the Internet, especially the social networking sites like Twitter, that the 45-year-old has already died.

Meanwhile, top neurosurgeon Dr Munther Sabarini told that Schumacher’s brain cells will be “working together like a Formula One team” in a bid to get him to wake up from his six-week long coma. And because of his age and fitness he has better odds of recovering from the trauma, he added.

He said: “When a driver shows weakness, another driver takes over under the new situation. It is the same way with the brain cells. “You can support brain function with a lot of resources so that the healing process is accelerated and cause as little damage as possible. Typically high-energy bodily functions are shut down during a coma. Only after awakening can they be enabled again. The vital signs are observed and corrected.

“It is then up to the doctors to do a great deal; physiotherapy, mental care, treatment of new or old diseases.

“Depending on the aid required, the patient receives medication usually called neuro vitamins but the measures applied vary strongly from case to case.

“After awakening one needs a few months to a few years to learn to overcome physical changes. Young and healthy people like Schumacher have better chances to recover from such a trauma,” he said.

The German’s medical team at the GUH in France announced last week they are slowly reducing the anaesthetic that has kept the father-of-two unconscious since his low-speed ski accident on December 29 when he smashed his head on to rocks. But the process could take many more weeks. Anaesthetic gases, which may have accumulated in his body’s fatty tissue, must be removed extremely slowly. But there have been no facial or bodily responses to his environment, according to medical sources.

Schumacher will be receiving food through a tube to his stomach, oxygen via a hose from a machine next to his bed as he still cannot breathe independently.

His joints and muscles are massaged three times a day to prevent atrophy and bed sores. “But one of the greatest risk to Schumacher lying in a prone position is pneumonia,” said a doctor. The lack of a competent swallowing mechanism can make saliva run into the lungs and trigger the potentially lethal respiratory infection. (Agencies)