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Patience is the key says Hartstein

NEWS STORY
16/01/2014

With a lack of updates from those treating Michael Schumacher - because those treating him are fully concentrating on treating him and are not in the business of issuing daily reports - some sections of the media have taken it upon themselves to do their own monitoring of the situation, with alarming results.

Consequently, as we await genuine news on the situation from those treating him, a tabloid headline declaring that the German "will be in a coma for the rest of his life" has caused serious distress and anxiety.

Thankfully, there is common sense in the form of Gary Hartstein, the former Formula One Medical Delegate, who succeeded Professor Sid Watkins, who has taken to his excellent blog today to calm fans fears with an experienced, rational appraisal of what is happening behind the scenes and a call to ignore such sensational reporting.

"The guys quoted in the online article I saw have taken care of patients like Michael," he writes. "They have not, however, examined Michael, reviewed his scans, etc. Because their titles imply that these men are consummate professionals, I’ve no doubt that they made clear (much clearer than the Daily Mail does) that they were speculating as to possible outcomes. Because that is what they are doing.

"I think that we need to look at this speculation rather like the arrival time estimates of your satnav," he continues. "Their initial estimate is based on some assumptions and statistics. Obviously, as you get closer and closer to the destination the estimate gets better and better. Duh.

"It is highly unlikely that when Michael and his family are finished with hospitals, finished with rehab centres, he will be the same Michael we had known until that Sunday," he admits. Having said that, which is admittedly saying very little that isn’t, unfortunately, painfully obvious, the range of impairment we may see spans the spectrum from mild sensory/motor/behavioral problems to more dramatic sequelae.

"Once again, patience, long painstaking work by all concerned, and just maybe our thoughts, best wishes and prayers will be needed. Long periods with no news are perfectly normal, and will remain so. We will likely enter a chronic phase, punctuated by (hopefully) several steps forward and (hopefully) many fewer backward."

In other words, let the likes of the Daily Fail run its sensational stories but ignore them... don't give them the hits the headlines scream out for. Instead, as we await facts from those actually treating him, follow Gary's advice and send out your "thoughts, best wishes and prayers" for Michael and his family.

Chris Balfe

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