Schumacher slightly better but fragile: doctors

Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:38pm EST
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By Lucien Libert

GRENOBLE, France (Reuters) - French doctors treating Michael Schumacher for brain injuries sustained in a ski fall said the seven-times Formula One world champion was in slightly better condition on Tuesday after an overnight operation, but that he remained fragile.

The 44-year-old German is battling for his life after slamming his head against a rock while skiing off-piste in the French resort of Meribel on Sunday, an accident which triggered an outpouring of concern among fans around the world.

Doctors treating him at a hospital in the eastern city of Grenoble said his condition had stabilized enough by late Monday to carry out a new operation to treat the effects of internal bleeding within Schumacher's skull.

"The situation is more under control than yesterday but we cannot say he is out of danger," Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician, told a news conference at the CHU hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble.

"We have won some time but we must continue an hour-by-hour surveillance... It is premature to speculate on his condition," he said, adding that Schumacher was still in a critical state and suffering from severe lesions and contusions.

Emmanuel Gay, head of the hospital's neurosurgery service, said the operation carried out around 10.00 pm (2100 GMT) on Monday had successfully removed a large hematoma - the medical term for a build-up of blood - from his brain.

"It was larger and more accessible (than others) ... We judged we could remove it without taking any risks," Gay said.

He said the operation was designed to reduce, within Schumacher's skull, the pressure on the brain.   Continued...

Former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher skis in the northern Italian resort of Madonna Di Campiglio in this January 13, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/stringer