Ex-F1 doc: 'Lapses' in Schumi's care

2014-03-27 08:47

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Earlier in March Wheels24 reported that a medical expert believed former Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher had lost a quarter of his body weight since a skiing fall in France.

On Thursday (March 27) another doctor has made startling revelations about Schumacher's condition.

F1's former chief doctor, Gary Hartstein, alleged that "serious lapses" in early treatment may have worsened Schumacher's condition.


Hartstein, F1 medical delegate until 2013, clarified in his blog: "I am in no way criticising any member of the care team(s) dispatched to fetch Michael on the slopes or any of those involved in transferring him from Moutiers to Grenoble. As I made clear, pre-hospital medicine is difficult under the best of conditions.

"I am very clearly criticising a system that allows head-injury patients to be brought to non-neurosurgical centres in the absence ofclear reasons to do so.

"The failure to adequately control an agitated patient prior to flight, as well as the delays in adequate control of his airway, likely indicate insufficient training, insufficiently robust protocols, and perhaps insufficient experience under difficult circumstances (again, a mega-star patient with a difficult, demanding and perhaps even frankly hostile entourage)."

Schumacher suffered serious brain damage when his head hit rocks after he fell while skiing at the French Alpine resort of Meribel in December 2013. He is being treated at a hospital in Grenoble, France, where he remains in an artificially induced coma.


Hartstein continued to criticise the initial emergency response to Schumi’s condition.

"The delay in admission to a neurosurgeon, as well as deferred airway control, cannot have been good for a severely injured brain. Especially in a situation where the intra-cranial pressure had risen so high that parts of the brain were literally being squeezed out of the cranial vault.

"That said, in terms of prognosis, this likely pales in significance when compared to the 2000-and-some-odd joules of impact energy against that goddamned rock. It is also obvious that someone whose neurosurgeon, the day after the trauma, describes his condition as 'haematomas left, right and centre' is likely not to do particularly well.”


In the wake of Hartstein's comments, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm said: "We remain confident that Michael will pull through and wake up. We are fighting for that together with a team of doctors that we trust."

Bild questioned Hartstein's claims that his comments were based on the information of "usually impeccable sources". The newspaper said: "Bild knows that, during his time in F1, Hartstein was never close to Michael Schumacher. He has not had contact with Schumacher's family ordoctors."


Hartstein went on in his blog to call out International Motorsport Federation president Jean Todt’s poor leadership with regards to medical care in motorsport: “I need to send a quick and heartfelt shout out to General Zin and the medical team at the Malaysian GP: these guys have created a society for motorsport and traffic medicine, with a goal to fostering best-practice in the community of caregivers doing this type of medicine. Bravo!

“It’s just a pity that the national federations are left alone to carry out initiatives such as this (I needn’t remind you of my attempts at organising an international society) without leadership from Paris. Again, Todt, it’s not because you gave your mates fancy titles that they have, by magic, acquired competency in this field.

"Motorsport medicine is stagnating and will continue to do so as long as there is a total lack of leadership from the top.”

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Malaysian GP