Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Avalanche prince may never recover

Johan Friso will be moved at a later date to a private rehabilitation clinic for further treatment (AP)
Johan Friso will be moved at a later date to a private rehabilitation clinic for further treatment (AP)
Dr Wolfgang Koller faces the media during a news conference at the main hospital in Innsbruck (AP)

A Dutch prince struck by an avalanche while skiing off-trail in Austria last week suffered massive brain damage and may never regain consciousness, doctors have said.

Johan Friso is the second son of the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix.

Dr Wolfgang Koller, head of trauma at the Innsbruck hospital where the 43-year-old is being treated, said at a news conference broadcast live on Dutch national television that it took nearly 50 minutes to reanimate the prince after he was pulled from the snow.

"It is clear that the oxygen starvation has caused massive brain damage to the patient," he said. "At the moment it cannot be predicted if he will ever regain consciousness."

The prince, who is married and has two young daughters, will be moved at a later date to a private rehabilitation clinic for further treatment.

But Dr Koller cautioned that it may take years before he awakens from his coma, if he ever does.

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