December 31, 2013 – Story by RaceChaser Correspondent Joel Sebastianelli – Photo of Michael and Corinna Schumacher By Getty Images –
Doctors at University Hospital in Grenoble say that retired Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher has shown improvement but is still in critical condition following a second operation overnight to remove a hematoma in the left brain.
A CT scan taken in the early hours of December 31 showed a window of opportunity to operate on the 44 year old German. The surgery reduced pressure in the brain and evacuated the large collection of blood with what was described through an English translator provided through BBC News as “a relatively good result.”
The second operation was not anticipated by doctors yesterday. A post-operation scan shows no worsening of initial legions, but highlights damage “that must be kept in check while he is in resuscitation hour by hour.”
This procedure was not directly associated with the wounds addressed through surgery yesterday on the right brain. Schumacher is still in a medically induced coma with controlled body temperature, and will remain under these conditions until it is no longer a risk or necessity to alter the state of treatment.
Professor Jean-Francois Payen says the vast array of medical personnel is still unsure of his future, noting that conditions change from one moment to the next and refraining from using the word ‘optimistic.’
“I can’t answer the question if he is out of danger yet,” Payen said according to the broadcasted translation. “Things change quickly in a bad or good way, so we really can’t say. We’ve only gained more time.”
“We have a strategy to correct a number of anomalies that continue and we want to give ourselves some time during this phase of stability. There are some important matters we need to think about for the future. We still can’t say we have won.”
The seven time Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion with Benetton and Ferrari was airlifted from a French Alps resort in Meribel after sustaining head trauma resulting from an off-piste skiing accident Sunday morning.
Reports say Schumacher, skiing with his 14 year old son Mick and friends, struck a rock and damaged his helmet upon impact. He was conscious but in distress prior to being airlifted and was placed in a coma following what appeared to be involuntary limb movements and an overall deteriorating condition.
His wife Corinna and children, the aforementioned Mick and 15 year old daughter, Gina Marie, have remained at his bedside throughout the ordeal.
FIA President and former General Manager of Scuderia Ferrari, Jean Todt, as well as former Benetton and Ferrari technical director and Mercedes GP team principal, Ross Brawn, have traveled to the hospital in support. Orthopedic and trauma surgeon Gerard Saillant, the same doctor who operated on Schumacher in 1999 after breaking his leg in a crash at Silverstone, traveled to France foremost as a friend as opposed to a doctor.
Given the fragility of the situation at the present, there are no plans to move Schumacher to another facility. The issue of a hospital transfer, perhaps to his native country of Germany, may be discussed at a later time.
No further briefings are expected today from the medical team via press conference unless pertinent information arrives.
Stay tuned to Race Chaser Online for updates as they become available.