Michael Schumacher: Racer paused by coma

  • By Team TDO

Brief Background of the Accident

On Dec.29 2013, Schumacher was seriously injured in skiing accident in the French Alps. The Formula One Champion was rushed to the Grenoble University Hospital immediately, and was placed in an induced coma. Despite two brain surgeries and myriad other treatments, the progress is very slow, and the doctors have maintained that the brain injuries are still critical. Fans celebrated his 45th birthday on Jan 3rd, standing all the day and night outside the hospital, praying for his health.

Fatal accidents have claimed many people, and most of them were kept in an induced coma, with the hope that they will come back again. However, the medical history reveals that chances of such patients coming back to normal life are very less, and even if they do come back, they can never be their original self. The same can be the case with Schumacher.

Medically-Induced Coma

In hospital, Schumacher was put in a medically-induced coma, and it is now being feared that he may possibly never wake up from it! So what is this ‘medically –induced coma’?

In case of brain injuries, the brain undergoes inflammation and swelling. The brain is protected by a very tough skull and there is not much space for it to swell. Thus, it ends up growing bigger in confined settings. This kind of swelling can be dangerous, as it puts pressure on the parts of brain, and often leads to paralysis, personality changes, and more often than not, death. In such cases of severe brain damage, for the sake of the patient’s life, the doctors put him into coma. This is called medically induced coma. This coma helps reduce overall activity of body organs, and reduces the body temperature. This relaxes the brain by reducing its activity, and slowing the swelling and inflammation.

The brain requires much more energy than usual when it is healing. So, doctors try to minimize the amount of metabolic activity by decreasing body temperature and brain inflammation through medically induced coma. This is what doctors at the Grenoble hospital have done to Schumacher. They are maintaining his body temperature at around 35 degree Celsius.

The tricky situation here is that brain can’t be made overly active, as it may the hamper healing process. At the same time, it needs good nourishment for faster healing. So, one has to keep it active by ensuring good blood supply!

Generally, a patient is kept in a medically induced coma for not more than a period of 14 days. Long periods of coma may have detrimental effects on the patient’s health. The sooner the coma ends, the faster will be the recovery of bodily functions like breathing.

As per the last medical updates, Schumacher’s condition is still grave, and the injuries too severe to wake him up from the coma. More than 20 days have passed since he was put into coma, and there are speculations that he may never wake up from it. Even if he does, say doctors, he might be completely paralyzed, might not be able to speak, have personality changes, and may never be able to drive again.

For Michael Schumacher, coming out alive from the worst ever accident of his life is a possibility. However, his survival depends more on how well he accepts and adjusts to the long term, drastic effects of the accident!