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Michael Schumacher: Second operation leads to “slight improvement”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Dec 2013   |  11:30 am GMT  |  47 comments

Doctors tending to Michael Schumacher at the CHU hospital in Grenoble, France have said that they carried out a second operation on the German last night following a scan which had revealed that there has been a “slight improvement” in his condition.

However doctors stressed that he remains in a “critical” condition.

At around 10pm last night the operation was carried out, after his family gave their consent, and it lasted around two hours.

“Another brain scan was carried out and we could see a slight improvement and allowed us to tell the family that we would be able to have another surgical intervention to reduce the hematoma and that surgical intervention took place overnight,” said Jacqueline Hubert, the CHU director general.

“A new scan was carried out this morning and it shows slight improvements, slight radiological improvements.”

A further note was added: “We can’t say he is out of danger but we have gained more time. The hours to come are still crucial to the outcome.”

His body is being kept at a cool temperature to help reduce the swelling in the brain.

Further updates will be given when there is a change in his condition.

Former FIA F1 doctor Gary Hartstein, who has been maintaining a running commentary of medical notes on Twitter (@former_f1doc), responded by saying in a tweet, “I will blog at length about this but this is a VERY interesting and quite positive press conference.”

In a first draft of the blog he mentioned above, Hartstein said: “Michael is in VERY good hands.The decision to evacuate the second, intracerebral, hematoma seems to me, a non neurointensivist, to make sense.

“It sounds retrospectively that Michael’s ICP was worrisomely and persistently high yesterday, despite the right sided bone flap not having been closed.

“The decision was made to gain some room, and drain what sounds like superficial left-sided hematoma. These are usually left alone, and it had previously (and reasonably) been decided NOT to touch this one. But given the ICP problem, and that overall the brain was less “angry”, it was decided to evacuate it, especially as this meant leaving the left sided bone flap off.

“This leads me to insist on just how sick Michael was yesterday. These guys were sweating bullets, doing everything known to man to help, and they deserve a lot of credit. But this was SERIOUSLY life threatening minute to minute yesterday.

“I think we can A) reset all the countdown clocks we started yesterday (time to reduce sedation, time to wean from vent, etc). And B) insist on just how severely Michael is injured. Be patient. This is gonna take a long time.”

It is now 48 hours since Schumacher fell while skiing off piste and hit his head on a rock. Doctors confirmed that the helmet he was wearing had certainly saved his life.

Schumacher’s former rival David Coulthard has written an exceptional piece in the Telegraph today, expressing a sentiment that sums up the response to Schumacher’s plight,

“The awful thing is that so often it takes something like this before we say what we truly feel about someone,” he wrote.

Here’s the link to the story Telegraph

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47 Comments
  1. Kowalsky I says:

    He was never liked bythe fans, the fact he is in a coma does not chante that. I wish him well, like i would to anybody else, but behind all the fog created by the media, i dont ser many fans or banners outside the hospital.

    1. Stone the crows says:

      This is one fan who liked and likes him quite a lot. Perhaps people are being respectful

      Bad form on your part.

      1. jabg77 says:

        I was never of big fan either but was horrified to hear of this. You need to separate the driver from the man, especially since he has now retired. Wish him a speedy recovery

      2. Satish says:

        It appears Kowalsky has separated man from driver and wishes the man a speedy recovery

      3. Kowalsky I says:

        You better read the comment before post an answer. Satish could teach you haw its done.

      4. TimW says:

        and somebody should teach you how to research your comments before posting, Michael Schumacher was one of the most popular drivers in the history of the sport, he was adored by millions of fans. A tiny bit of research would have proved you wrong on that point. There is a vigil of many of his fans going on outside the hospital right now, again it would have taken you about thirty seconds to find this out if you could have been bothered.

      5. Kowa says:

        Timw i imagine you are a young fan that does not know the meaning of respect. Schumacher won 91 gp And sure he has some followers, but he has never been loved by the fans, the way villeneuve or alesi ever were. Of course he has some followers, but kowalsky meant other thing. When you grow up youll understand.

      6. TimW says:

        Kowa, your impression of me is totally wrong, I am 38 years old and have watched every televised grand prix since the mid eighties. I watched every race of Michael Schumacher’s career and saw the adoration for him from the fans at these races. Maybe you should re watch a few German, Italian, Hungarian and Belgian Grand prix and look out for the huge number of Schumacher fans in the crowd. Michael was the biggest name in F1 for well over a decade and the fact that he has a huge number of fans worldwide is unarguably and provably true.
        You say I need to know the meaning of respect while making incorrect assumptions about me, and defending Kowalsky who has shown no respect for a 7 times F1 world champion by making totally untrue comments about him. Maybe you should buy a new dictionary.

      7. Colin Coote says:

        Never liked by the fan’s speak for yourself.

  2. Richard Dale says:

    Thanks for the updates James.

  3. Bruce says:

    What a way to spend the final moments of 2013, with tears in my eyes

    1. Olivier says:

      +1

      I am not in a festive mood at all.

      That was a heartwarming article from Coulthard. And very credible as he was racing him at the time.

      Massa’s near full recovery stems me hopeful.

  4. Elie says:

    It’s a great to hear positive news no matter how minor it is!. However people need to be very guarded as these conditions are highly sensitive.

    I don’t necessarily agree with DC. People will always recognise someone who has achieved so much in a sport, & by nature humans will always be sympathetic to someone who has had such a terrible accident. Especially when he has a family waiting in the wings.
    Does it change my opinion of him- Not at all. Do we need to re- recognise his achievements – no not all. We must be very careful that we don’t allow pretenders to gain exposure from a terrible situation & question those whose opinion Does change as a result of this- where have you been for 25 years and why now. Obviously people who are not familiar with F1 will now appreciate the magnitude of his F1 legacy& yes in that way it is sad that it takes such news to highlight this but that’s all.

    Let’s hope he keeps up this steady progress.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      +1

    2. Random 79 says:

      Well said.

    3. AndyFov says:

      Though it’s heartfelt and a very good piece, I disagree with DC too. A tragedy changes the things said about the victim, which in time shifts the public perception of that person too.

      Had Prost suffered Senna’s fate instead I maintain that many F1 fans would steadfastly claim he was the greatest ever F1 driver, yet few do. I’m not questioning Senna’s greatness, nor Schu’s for that matter, I’m just mindful that a tragedy does shift opinion.

      It’s not just F1…

      John Lennon: adored.
      Paul McCartney: not so much.

      Amy Winehouse: Troubled genius.
      Pete Doherty: tit.

      Regardless, despite being the man I loved to hate for so many years, I found a new respect for him during his Mercedes comeback. It’s a weird turnaround rooting for the guy for whom I’d previously spent so much time willing his engine to explode.

      I wish him a full and speedy recovery. With today’s update I hope there’s an increased liklihood that that’s a possibility. GWS MS.

      1. James Allen says:

        Just wanted to say a big thank you for your kind donation to CLIC Sargent around my BBC Mastermind appearance.

        Much appreciated

      2. Zhenya says:

        IMHO, not necessarily.

        I think that Senna’s wish to help children in Brazil, Monaco’88 Quali (and his speculations), Donington’93 – these things made him great.

        The same with John Lennon. These people have something…what’s the correct term…unearthly. That makes them different.
        _______________________________________________

        Get well soon!

    4. Sebee says:

      Very true Elie.

      We know one thing about Schumi, he values family above all else, his priorities were never out of order. All this attention, fame, good words and “love” being thrown Schumi’s way right now…one thing is certian, he’d give it all up in a blink along with the records and riches for 30 seconds with his family right now. So would his family.

      We’ve watched his work on track for decades. We often wished perhaps to be in that Ferrari. I had a dream or two myself where Schumi had the flu and I was called in urgently. We probably often wished we could trade places with Schumi. Who wishes to trade places with Schumi today?

      Schumi has been a bit supersticious. Twenty13 sure won’t make him any less so.

      1. Sebee says:

        Alright..we’re done with 2013 and it’s unlucky ending. We’re at 72 hours, time to hear some good news soon …

      2. Luca says:

        According to Bild, Michael was skiing behind a group of kids he was watching out for. When a young girl, the daughter of a friend, got into a spot of bother, he cut througth that patch of unbeaten snow to reach her more quickly. That is the most recent version I have read of how the accident occurred *.

        There is no doubt in my mind that the surge of empathy with Michael, never the most popular winner in his day, is down as much to his character as a father and husband as it might be due to his extraordinary achievements in sport.

        I join all those who are wishing that soon he will be able to renew what is — even for the greatest achievers among us — the longest and most enjoyable career we can hope for, that of a steadfast companion and parent.

        [ * Story reported in Il Fatto Quotidiano: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/01/02/schumacher-stampa-tedesca-caduto-per-soccorrere-figlia-di-un-amico/829934/ ]

      3. Sebee says:

        Honestly Luca, as far as idols and role models go, Schumi is in a club of very few. More for the man that he is rather than the racer that he was.

        Just think of how many of our idols have made us adore them for their sporting achievements and let us down through various indiscretions. Schumi may have had some sporting indiscretions on track some found crossed the line, but has had none off track – where I personally think it really counts.

        If this story is true, well…what else can be said about the man that he hasn’t said with his actions as a family man already?

  5. Stephen Taylor says:

    Hopefully a step in the right direction.

  6. RobertS says:

    Thanks for the update and link James

  7. Sarvar says:

    Encouraging news, hopefully on Jan 1st we will hear more positive news, you can do it Michael.

    Happy New Year to All!

  8. Racyboy says:

    I’ve found Dr Gary Hartstein tweets and blog very helpful(he tripled his followers in about 12hrs.
    DC’s column is excellent…nice to see egos put to one side, and race drivers have HUGE egos.
    (As a Ferrari and Schu fan,I was furious with DC and McLaren at Spa’98).

    So far Michael seems to be heading in the right direction, he just needs to keep pushing.

  9. Ryan says:

    I remember as a youngster in Aus sneaking out of bed every second Sunday night to watch Schumacher. I never told anybody, because it just seemed silly, but I would always get so nervous before a Grand Prix! Teeth chattering, loo stop before the warm-up lap.lol… I would be Hoping Schumi would get a good start, then lets pass that slower 1 stopper, then lets make a clean stop then push and challenge all the way to the line!… Even in my later teenage years and the later Ferrari years when Schumi would be well off 20,30+ seconds in the lead I would still be nervous!

    Now Im more nervous and anxious than ever. This one is truly important. Take away the championships, all the records, this is the one we all want more than anything.

    push, Schumi! PUSH! PUSH!

  10. Truth or Lies says:

    This is very welcome news, but of course we must continue to hope and pray that he’ll get better.

    Thanks James for keeping us updated.

  11. Richard says:

    Good to hear the start of some improvement which I hope gives some optimism to his family. Clearly this is going to be a slow recovery, but we can only wish him well as things improve. I think the problem with head injuries is that they can be so unpredictable, and it may be many months even years before he can be judged to be out of the woods. That said we can only wish him as quick a recovery as can be expected in the circumstances.

  12. Sebee says:

    Some medical insight I saw elsewhere.
    >

    He compared Schumacher’s accident to Felipe Massa’s near-fatal 2009 qualifying crash, from which the Brazilian made a full recovery.

    “They are somehow simular because they are both trauma,” Altmann told Globo. “But the spring hit Felipe where there is larger resistance from bone defences.”Felipe’s trauma, although severe, was much lighter than Schumacher’s.

    Even without knowing the exact severity of his injury, we know that he was agitated and not answering questions. This already demonstrates a very severe trauma,” he said. However, Altmann takes some comfort in the fact that, contrary to some recent reports, Schumacher has only undergone one brain operation so far.”If he has not had a second surgery in these first hours, it means that the cranial pressure is under control,” he said.”The more time that passes without another surgery is good for Schumacher. It means he is in the best conditions for his recovery.”

  13. MrNed says:

    Slow and steady wins this race Michael – keep it up.

  14. Goob says:

    Michael’s one grand prix win, is worth more then Vettel’s entire WDC career… he fought tooth and nail, and the cars allowed a driver to demonstrate his worth in his era.

    I feel so sorry for the modern great drivers, as they are forbidden to demonstrate their skills. The regulations and gimmicks have destroyed the on track action that once took our breath away…

    I could happily sleep through every modern F1 race…

    Michael was a monster in an era when driver skill was fully exposed… that is something that no current driver can claim, as they won’t be allowed to race.

  15. franed says:

    Dr Gary Hartstein has explained in detail all about this particular and the general background to such head injuries, go back and read the previous posts too they give much info.
    http://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/tuesday-press-conference-take-1/

    DC’s piece in the Telegraph was on the button though he misses the essential point that Schumi was the villain for good reason as often was Senna and we see the beginnings again in Vettel. The will to win got bigger than his sportsmanship and blotted out the consideration of consequences.
    Now for most drivers you could say it overwhelmed them, but these guys are special, they could be doing the times crossword and a sudoku whilst driving so they had plenty of capacity left to think about the consequences of what they were doing and decided it didn’t matter. That’s why for me as for DC, Schumi is a tainted champion, maybe all great men have to have that ruthless streak that only surfaces in extreme circumstances. Murray always said he was absolutely charming and we saw that too in his uk tv interviews.

    But anyway his injury is far more serious than one might expect unless you read the ex F1 doctor’s explanations.

  16. Sebastiaan says:

    James,
    Thanks a lot for the updates. Great article by David Coulthard. Thanks for sharing.

    Wish you and your team all the best for 2014 and hopefully with a fully recovered Schumacher around.
    Cheers,
    Sebastiaan

  17. Valentino from montreal says:

    Been waiting for positive news before posting a comment …

    Michael , from your biggest fan and admirer , please , don’t leave … You’ve been part of most of my life and my family’s too … We love you ..xox

    …….

    “At the end of the day he had the same rules and the same race marshals as the rest of us. And he destroyed us.”

    David Coulthard

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I’ve been thinking of you also these past couple of days val, I understand how you’re feeling and I wish him the speediest recovery too.

      Un abbraccio a lei

      1. Valentino from montreal says:

        Grazie tanto Carlo … : /

    2. Elie says:

      For a change it’s good to hear from you Val : ) I was thinking of you when this post first came up..We’re all with you on this one.

  18. P Jaxon says:

    Imagine any sportsperson having all their equipment/tools specially made for them, that they get to test extensively, and geared toward their strengths, that’s the manufactured advantage Schumacher had over everyone else during his phase of dominance. His comeback was a much more accurate measure of his talent.
    Personally I’ve no regard for those sort of ruthless, unsportsmanlike like traits in people, nor do I have much sympathy for people who come a cropper while pursuing dangerous pursuits.
    I do though have genuine sympathy for his family.

    1. Martin P says:

      Imagine a sportsperson who is so clearly ahead of the others that organisations such as Ferrari are prepared to make equipment/tools specially for them, invest in alowing them to test extensively and with such supreme confidence in their skills that they devote all their efforts towards working to that one person’s strengths.

      That’s not a manufactured advantage – it’s what every driver on the grid strives for.

      Personally speaking though, I have no regard for people who vent unnecessary, judgemental opinions at a time of personal tragedy.

      Get well soon MS, everyone in their right mind is willing you to win this race.

      1. Stone the crows says:

        Yes quite. It is not just that a driver, any driver has a great car tailored to his strengths, its that you have a brilliant once in a lifetime talent given what he needs to become a legend. It is what every driver on the grid would kill for.

        Doubly agree on venting, quite a lot of bad form going on.

      2. P Jaxon says:

        Fairness and sportsmanship were not traits particularly displayed by the unfortunate Mr Schumacher during his active years in F1. Quite the opposite, and I don’t think he really cared either way. Doesn’t invalidate anyone’s opinion of him based on how he presented himself globally via the media.
        Anyone claiming he was a racing god needs a good dose of historical context and perspective.

  19. levan says:

    Come on Red Baron!!! Your Race Isnt over Yet

  20. KenC says:

    Hartstein’s insights are the first real knowledgeable ones I’ve seen. Thank you JA.

  21. Ravi Govin says:

    My prayers are with Michael and his family. Pray that the New Year brings some real good news about his recovery.

    It was nice reading DC’s column. I was never a MS fan ever since he turned his wheel into Damon. I felt gloomy and disappointed when he won. However there was one non-racing act from MS in Jan 2005 which made me respect him. He was one of the first to come to aid of Tsunami victims with his $10 million charity this was far greater than anything that any other corporate or individual did. His charity work during all these years has been inspirational and something as a human to be proud of, admire and be thankful.

    MS, you may not have made me your racing fan but I will always be your fan for the kind human you are.

    God speed and wish you speedy recovery Michael.

    Ravi
    Dallas,TX

  22. sunny stivala says:

    a happy new year to all

  23. Aura says:

    He had such a big influence in my childhood. I loved to hate him as a Hakkinen fan, but I also loved him, his irritating yet so strong, happy and emotional character. I can find so many writings about him from my childhood diaries. Now when I woke up in the mornings, he is the first thing in my mind. Greetings from Finland and all the best to Michael and his family.

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