Schumacher 'nodded' during hospital transfer

Michael Schumacher communicated with doctors and medical staff "by nodding" and kept his eyes "open for long periods" during his 120-mile ambulance transfer to a rehabilitation clinic in Lausanne in Switzerland earlier this week, according to Swiss media reports.

The 45-year-old Formula One champion was on Monday transferred to Lausanne from the Grenoble university hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for the severe brain injuries he suffered during his off-piste skiing accident in France last December.

Swiss news agency SDA reported that during his transfer the injured driver did not speak but was able to communicate with doctors and ambulance crew members "by nodding".

It added: "During the 120-mile road journey from Grenoble to Lausanne, he kept his eyes open for long periods."

Dr Richard Franckowiak, the director of the neuroscience unit at the Lausanne clinic told SDA that Schumacher's transfer went "very, very well".

He said the clinic was committed to protecting the privacy of Schumacher and his family.

The home that Schumacher shares with his wife, Corinna and their children is some 24 miles away from the clinic in the village of Gland. Dr Franckowiak said his clinic provided specialist care in the fields of neurology and rehabilitation. He said it would not be necessary to bring in outside specialists in Schumacher's case.

Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm announced on Monday that the driver was no longer in the artificial coma he had been placed in since early January and that he would begin a "long process" of rehabilitation in Lausanne.

On Tuesday, media reports said Schumacher could breathe without assistance and was responding to his wife's voice.

However, doctors have cast doubt on Schumacher's chances of making a full recovery.

The former Formula One physician Dr Gary Hartstein said that the public had been already made aware in April that he had emerged form his coma.

"We're told what we already know, and pretty much told not to ever expect further updates," he wrote in a blog. "This all leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and a huge space of sadness for Michael's family," he added.

Dr Martin Grond, a neurologist at Siegen hospital near Bonn told Spiegel Online: "There is no word about his brain functions.

"Everything from a waking coma to a substantial recovery is possible in principle," he added.



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