Michael Schumacher and his family are dealt another heavy blow this week as reports are coming in that the former F1 champion is now battling a particularly bad pneumonia, while his doctors are still trying to bring him out of his artificial coma.
The news is reported by the biggest German newspaper, Das Bild, who claims the 45-year-old racing driver has developed a lung infection in the last month during his hospital stay and now doctors are administering strong antibiotics and trying to assess how life-threatening the infection is to the weak Schumacher.
Doctors say that the biggest danger for people in Schumacher's condition when affected by pneumonia is the fact that they lack a competent swallowing mechanism which leads to saliva running into the lungs and triggering a fatal respiratory infection.
Leading German doctors also say that 30 to 50 percent of people who have been in a coma as long as Michael Schumacher has eventually develop pneumonias.
Few details are coming to light from the French hospital where the seven-time world champion is being treated since his December 29 ski accident. Meanwhile, German doctors can only speculate at the current state of his health.
It's not known if this current battle with pneumonia has caused an interruption in the process of bringing the driver slowly out of his artificial coma by reducing the anesthetic that is currently keeping him under.
At the moment, Schumacher is said to be unresponsive to his environment, despite the fact that his reflexes are tested on a daily basis. He is still fed via a tube that reaches to his stomach and breathes artificially, with the aid of a machine next to his bed. His muscles and joints are massaged three times a day to prevent atrophy.
His spokesperson, Sabine Kehm, has refused to comment on the recent revelations, dismissing them as speculations.