The Scotsman, Sept. 29, 1997

Was Diana, Princess of Wales, Finished Off by French Doctors, Who Gave the Wrong Medical Aid?

The Scotsman raises significant questions, that French authorities refused to answer, about whether the medical care given to Diana, Princess of Wales, by doctors on the site of the crash, was what ultimately caused her death. First, The Scotsman notes that contrary to the impression given by the British Embassy in Paris, Diana had not been trapped in the wreckage of the crashed Mercedes Benz, but was free to be removed instantly from the car by equipment available on the ambulance.

The Scotsman notes that in almost every other country than France, trauma victims are rushed to the hospital by the ambulance crew, so that they can receive the most advanced medical treatment.

The French, however, frequently try to stabilize a victim first at the crash site. Still, it took 95 minutes for the ambulance to drive at a pitifully slow 25 miles per hour, during which time, Princess Diana had two heart attacks, because she had massive internal bleeding from a ruptured pulmonary vein.

Writes the Scotsman: "From the start, official spokesmen in Paris have encouraged journalists to believe that the delay was caused because Diana was trapped in the twisted wreckage of the Mercedes and that she had to be cut free before she could be moved.

But that explanation is false. A police source has now confirmed that Diana was treated at the scene of the crash not because it was impossible to move her, but because `that's perfectly normal' in France. But, it is not normal even for the French in certain severe cases, where the patient cannot be stabilized at the accident scene.

Under those circumstances, French medical authorities in Paris have the option of medivaccing a patient by helicopter to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. As The Scotsman points out, this option should have been used in this case:

"The Scotsman has learned that the first medical personnel to reach the scene of the crash realized very quickly that Diana was bleeding internally. A doctor said: `She was sweating and her blood pressure had dropped. She had the external signs of internal haemorrhage.' British medical experts say that if this assessment is accurate, it is increasingly difficult to understand why Diana was not taken to hospital immediately."

There is no question that the ambulance doctors knew whom they were ineffectually treating. When they finally arrived at the Hospital St. Pitie Salpetriere, where a top notch surgery team had been assembled, the ambulance was met by French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement and Police Chief Philippe Massoni.

The surgical team repaired Diana's pulmonary vein, but the loss of blood caused by the treatment of the French ambulance doctors was such that The Scotsman states:

"The truth is that she was dead on arrival in the operating theatre, although the surgical team battled against all the odds to revive her." When The Scotsman queried the surgical team leader, Dr. Mailliez, as to whether Diana would have lived if she had been rushed to the hospital by helicopter, he said: "That's very controversial.

It's impossible to say. I don't want to be drawn on that. I've already said too much and I don't want to say any more."

And, the article concludes with the understatement that: "... French authorities are extremely sensitive about the suggestion that the princess should have received hospital treatment earlier than she did ... Neither the fire brigade nor the ambulance service would comment on suggestions that her move to hospital was delayed for too long.

The hospital and the police refused to comment on any of the circumstances following the accident, insisting that these are matters for the judicial investigation. In fact, that investigation is concerned only with the causes of the crash. No inquiry is examining the nature of the medical care provided to the dying princess."

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