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Report: Hospital denies Michael Schumacher has died

Feb 7, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

Mercedes Formula One driver Schumacher of Germany addresses a news conference ahead of the weekend's Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa Francorchamps Reuters

Doctors treating legendary Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher at Grenoble University Hospital in France have been forced to take the unusual step of publicly denying his death after a spate of rumors spread across international social media channels such as Twitter.

“The hospital denies that Michael Schumacher has died,” a hospital spokesman said in a statement, according to The Mirror in the U.K.

The seven-time world champion suffered serious brain and other injuries when he crashed into rocks while on a skiing vacation Dec. 29.

Doctors have spent more than a week slowly weaning Schumacher off anesthetic that has kept him in an induced coma and unconscious since shortly after the skiing mishap.

Schumacher is under 24-hour care, continues to receive food through a tube to his stomach, and is breathing with aid of a ventilator because he has been unable to breathe on his own.

While the weaning has gone as planned, doctors are particularly focused on making sure Schumacher does not contract pneumonia, which is a significant risk given that he cannot swallow on his own, allowing saliva to seep into his lungs and cause potential infection that could prove fatal.

“About 30 to 50 percent of all patients who lie in a coma as long as Michael Schumacher has get (pneumonia),” Andreas Pingel, medical director of the Centre for Spine Surgery and Neuro-Traumatology at BG Hospital in Germany told Focus Magazine.

The Mirror also reported Schumacher’s “blood is also thinned to prevent thrombosis and he is regularly turned and even stood straight up at times to keep blood flowing. He lies on a special air-filled mattress to prevent pressure sores and his urinary tract is under constant scrutiny because of the danger of waste bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing a potentially fatal infection.”

One bit of good news is that Schumacher’s age (45) and excellent physical condition will be a big help as his recovery continues. The biggest key is to eventually bring him out of the coma.

“(Schumacher’s brain cells will be) working together like a Formula One team,” neurosurgeon Dr. Munther Sabarini told The Mirror. “So if a driver shows weakness, then another driver takes over under the new situation. So it is with the brain cells.

“You can support brain function with a lot of resources so the healing process is accelerated and causes 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.”

Friday’s news, the death rumors notwithstanding, was more positive than a Thursday report in The Mirror that claimed Schumacher could regress into a permanent vegetative state once he awakes from the induced coma.

“There is unfortunately the risk that in sneaking out of a deep artificial sleep the patient is then in a waking coma,” Hamburg professor Heinzpeter Moeck told The Mirror. “This could mean a permanent vegetative state where Schumacher would effectively be paralyzed.”

  1. worknman24hours - Feb 8, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Whoever started these rumors got what they wanted.

    There hasn’t been a comprehensive update on Michael Schumacher’s actual physical condition until this response from the hospital to the terrible rumor that Michael Schumacher had died.

    And what they say here is heart breaking.

    He cannot breath on his own right now, he cannot swallow on his own, there are a myriad of other things revealed here that describe a extremely serious, far reaching amount of damage to Michael’s brain.

    The extent that these physical conditions are a part of his being placed in a medically induced coma I do not know.

    I will say this.

    Michael’s brain is not like a normal persons brain.

    The decades he spent racing at the highest level of formula One where lap after lap he reached into the most inner reaches of his brain to form a cohesive immediate partnership with all levels of his brain and the astounding speed at which all those parts of his brain had to share that information should serve him now in his recovery

    The neural pathways he developed by facing death at every turn and coming away unscathed and finding the limit at the next turn just a little higher, that doesn’t happen without building the brain in structure and complexity.

    So, as the doctor has said here, his brain has many pathways to build bridges inside the brain from damaged sections to undamaged sections but this process takes time.

    As far as citing his physical health as an advantage, there is a time limit to that.

    Being forced to lie in a bed to recover does nothing for your physical stamina.

    Unfortunately, Michael doesn’t have a choice in that.

    And I hope his family as well as the Ferrari team get together and get a plan with his doctors to reexcite Michael’s brain during recovery.

    All those years that Michael drove Ferrari race cars and won all those championships left massive amounts of data recorded in his brain.

    There is so much hidden memory there, if the doctors and his family can come up with a plan to expose Michael’s body to that hidden memory, heck who knows maybe that would help his brain build pathways out of the damaged areas of his brain.

    The idea here would be to do something like actually put his racing uniform on his in his bed, set him up in a situation where you were putting him on a normal practice day while he was at Ferrari with the ambient sounds from the cars at pit side (recorded on computer file) and also actually get him to hold a Ferrari race car steering wheel ( even if you had to hold his hands around it yourself) while the engine sounds and pit sound tracks was played telling him to do assorted things with that steering wheel actually from the times he drove the car ( something he was extremely familiar with).

    You are not looking for some wow moment.

    You just want to see a thumb move or eye movement, some brain wave movement on a monitor that indicates he is evolving into and through that part of his brain that he used so much all those years.

    All of this is predicated with getting him off the coma meds so he can actually respond to outside stimulus.

    There is so much memory in Michael’s brain from all those years of racing, and all those relationships he had, it lies dormant in his brain now, maybe that can help him heal, that’s all I am saying here.

    Man, this is tough to see the Mikester like this.

    My heart goes out to his family and close friends.

    I hope that the few monsters out there without a heart will be ignored.

    It appears that Michael faces a very long recovery here.

    Our prayers are for his full recovery and his families comfort in this terrible ordeal are sent.

    Michael, I look forward to you proving the naysayers wrong.

    If anyone can make people shake their heads it is you,Michael.

    In our hearts and our thoughts daily, God bless you, Mikey.

    • motormouth014 - Feb 8, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      worknman24hours Thank You. Your comments are so very well spoken so magnificently positive. I really appreciate your suggestion on the therapy of Michael’s racing suit sound effects ect. Brilliant !. I have a friend age 40 who suffered the same exact head injury in December. I have followed Michael for years and pray for his return to at least recognizing his family. Thanks again for your positive amongst the jerks.

      • worknman24hours - Feb 9, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        mm014,thanks for the kind comments.

        We can’t give up on the Shumster.

        Not for one second.

  2. techmeister1 - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    There is certainly scum in the world looking to profit or harm with such false claims. The good news is that Schumi is still fighting and that what goes around usually comes around. As ye sow, so shall ye reap and some scum will be held accountable for their actions come judgment day.

    • worknman24hours - Feb 11, 2014 at 4:27 AM

      There is a truth in what you say but I would also say this, whatever the people who are angry at Michael have against him, he has paid his dues in full for whatever you hate him for.

      Michael may well never be the same person he was.

      We certainly hope he will be but these are certainly very dark times for he and his family.

      He may find himself in a state where he cannot even remember that he is the greatest living Formula One racing driver of all time results wise.

      As motormouth 014 said, now it’s simply a matter of hoping a husband and and a father can get up from that hospital bed at some time in the future ,smile at his wife and children, hold them in his arms and remember how wonderful it is to have them in his life.

      Even the most hateful human beings on the planet should want that for Mike.

      I know as his fans, we do.

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