Bianchi critical with brain injury

Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Formula One driver Jules Bianchi remains in a “critical but stable” condition after suffering a traumatic and devastating brain injury in a crash during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

It is still too early to say if, and to what extent, Bianchi will recover from the “diffuse axonal injury”, where a shearing force has torn tissue throughout the brain and the brain swells.

A statement was released on Tuesday afternoon by Bianchi’s team Marussia F1, on behalf of his family and the Mie General Medical Center in Japan where he is being treated, to provide an update on the Frenchman’s condition.

“Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi,” the family statement read.

“He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition.

“The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.”

It is not dissimilar to the injury sustained by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in a skiing accident last December.

Schumacher is now recovering at home after coming out of a coma.

There is a highly variable outlook for the 25-year-old Bianchi, who has already undergone surgery, and it is not possible to know the full extent of his injuries or make an accurate prognosis – from full recovery to the opposite end of the spectrum – without consulting his medical records.

The operation will likely have been carried out in order to remove a section of the skull to allow the brain space to swell, or to remove a blood clot, or to insert a monitor to guide the management of the patient.

Mr Christopher Chandler, Consultant Neurosurgeon at London Bridge Hospital, told Press Association Sport: “You cannot say at this stage what the outcome will be.

“There has been widespread injury to the nervous tissue of the brain. It’s on a microscopic level, tiny little haemorrhages.

“The brain is extremely vulnerable to secondary injuries. It is extremely vulnerable to brain swelling, which can cause further damage to the brain.

“It will be the intention of the specialists treating the patient to try to maintain the internal environment of the brain as optimally as they can.

“(The specialists will aim) to control the brain swelling and preserve all the function in the undamaged brain and try to prevent the vulnerable areas of the brain – which might not have been irretrievably damaged – from being irretrievably damaged.”

The statement expressed the family’s thanks for the messages received since Bianchi’s accident at Suzuka.

Bianchi crashed into a recovery vehicle – following a crash for Adrian Sutil – after aquaplaning off the wet track.

The statement added: “This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation.

“We are also grateful for the presence of Professor Gerard Saillant, president of the FIA medical commission, and Professor Alessandro Frati, neurosurgeon of the University of Rome La Sapienza, who has travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari.

“They arrived at the hospital today (Tuesday) and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules’ treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family.

“Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues.

“The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate.”

Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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