Family of seven-time Formula One world champion motor driver Michael Schumacher have been reportedly told it would be a miracle for him to regain consciousness.
The 45-year-old Schumacher suffered serious brain injuries after hitting a rock in a skiing accident in the French Alpine ski resort of Meribel on December 29 last year.
At Schumacher management’s request, the Grenoble hospital treating him has kept news about his condition to a minimum.
However sources close to his family told The Telegraph UK that Schumacher’s prognosis is bleak. “The family has been told that only a miracle can bring him back now,” a senior German journalist told Telegraph UK.
“He is in a bad way but until the family issues a formal statement, we cannot publish anything,” he added.
Another source added: “Doctors have given it to them straight. Miracles sometimes happen but there is little hope that he will come out of this.”
Schumacher has been in an artificially induced coma for 69 days as doctors hope that the slowing down of the brain’s functions has helped it heal more quickly. The majority of artificial comas last for a period of two to three weeks.
This week was two months into his coma. Doctors hoped for a sign that he was aware of his environment via a flutter of eyelids or finger movement beyond a reflex nerve twitch.
Last Sunday Schumacher’s wife Corinna spent her 45th birthday at his bedside with their children Gina Marie and Mick, his brother Ralf and his father Rolf Schumacher.
“They talked and talked and prayed for him to acknowledge their presence. But he remains comatose with tubes feeding him, supplying him with air, giving him medicine and removing waste from his body,” a source close to the family reportedly said.
“Miracles happen, of course, and as a wealthy man he has the best care money can buy. But all the money in the world cannot fix what has happened to him.”
His management team, led by spokeswoman Sabine Kehm, insist that Schumacher remains in the ‘wake up’ phase of his treatment as doctors continue to decrease the powerful narcotics that have kept him unconscious.
Three times daily Schumacher’s joints and muscles are massaged to prevent atrophy and bed sores.
Experts said that the greatest risk of all facing Schumacher in his prone position is pneumonia. The lack of a competent swallowing mechanism can make saliva run into the lungs and trigger the potentially lethal respiratory infection. He has already had — and conquered — one lung infection.
His blood is also thinned to prevent thrombosis and he is regularly turned and even stood straight up at times to keep it flowing.
He lies on a special air-filled mattress to prevent pressure sores and his urinary tract is under constant vigilance because of the danger of waste bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing a potentially fatal infection.