Schumi back for further stem-cell treatment

PARIS • Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was yesterday treated with cutting-edge stem-cell therapy at a Paris hospital, according to a French newspaper.

Paris' hospitals authority, citing France's strict medical privacy rules, said it could not comment on the report in Le Parisien that the German, arguably the sport's greatest driver, was admitted under tight guard on Monday to the Georges-Pompidou hospital for transfusions of inflammation-reducing stem cells.

The daily said the 50-year-old Schumacher, who suffered a near-fatal brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident in the French Alps, was expected to be discharged today, although his long-time manager, Sabine Kehm, had no comment.

Following the tragedy, his condition stabilised after he was placed in a drug-induced coma, from which he later emerged.

Since September 2014, he has been cared for at home on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Le Parisien, citing sources it did not name, said Schumacher has been treated at least twice previously at the Georges-Pompidou hospital, admitted each time under a false name and treated by a small medical team.

The paper also published a photo of a yellow and blue ambulance with Geneva plates that it said drove him to the hospital on Monday afternoon. Inside, he was taken to a first-floor cardiovascular unit on a gurney with a dark-blue covering that hid his face and body, while about 10 security agents, some equipped with earphones, watched over the patient.

The Daily Mail reported that he was operated on by French surgeon Philippe Menasche, who is "best known for performing the world's first embryonic cell transplant on a patient with heart failure in 2014".

Schumacher's family fiercely protects his privacy, with thick forest around his castle-like home and high surrounding walls providing sanctuary from fan and media intrusion. He won a record 91 F1 races before retiring in 2012 and was skiing with his son Mick - who now races in F2 - on Dec 29, 2013, when he hit the right side of his head on a rock, splitting open his helmet.

Doctors worked frantically to remove blood clots from his brain, but some were left because they were too deeply embedded.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Schumi back for further stem-cell treatment'. Print Edition | Subscribe