Although there continues to be much speculation, nothing much appears to have fundamentally changed in Michael Schumacher’s condition in the last 24 hours. The surgeons involved at CHU Grenoble have confirmed the problems that required an emergency operation yesterday afternoon and say that it is impossible to know the outcome for Schumacher in the short term.
Professor Jean-Francois Payen made it clear that he believed that Schumacher would be dead if he had not been wearing a helmet.
Professor Stephan Chabardes said that the impact was on the right side of Michael’s head and that “the shock must have taken place at high speed” based on the damage that the surgeons have observed. The effects of this damage are impossible to predict at this stage.
When Michael arrived at CHU a scan revealed not only swelling of the brain but also a build-up of liquid inside the skull. This was the reason behind the emergency operation. This helps with swelling inside the skull, but the swelling itself can reduce the amount of oxygen getting to some parts of the brain and that can cause serious damage.The doctors said that there had not been a second operation and did not envisage one. This is a positive sign.
However, they did say that Michael is still in a critical condition and that they had discovered lesions on both sides of the brain.
“The doctors won’t tell you more because they can’t tell you more,” Payen said. “They are working hour by hour. We cannot tell what the outcome will be yet. It’s too early to say what is going to happen.”
Part of the treatment being used is to induce hypothermia, lowering the brain’s demand for oxygen, which reduces the volume of blood flowing into it. This can also reduce the swelling.
The immediate danger remains as the swelling can last several days. After that the doctors will reduce the anaesthesia and see what happens when Michael wakes up. It is only after that they will be able to ascertain if there are going to be permanent effects of the accident.