Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke to Queen Beatrix and Princess Mabel by telephone this morning. He told them that everyone in the Netherlands felt deeply for them in this time of concern and sorrow.
The Queen said that the family was touched by the many messages of encouragement they had received during the past week. The Prime Minister trusts that from today no one will consider intruding on the privacy of Prince Friso, Princess Mabel and their children. The whole family needs to come to terms with the bad news they received today from the doctors attending the Prince.
The head of the medical team attending His Royal Highness Prince Friso at Innsbruck university hospital has just issued a press statement giving further information on the Prince’s condition and his outlook for the future. The statement was as follows:
Prince Friso was brought to Innsbruck university hospital by rescue helicopter at about 14:00 on 17 February, after being buried by an avalanche in Lech. He was covered for approximately 25 minutes. At the hospital, after receiving initial treatment in the reanimation unit, he was taken straight to the intensive care trauma unit. This unit specialises in treating the most seriously injured avalanche patients with the utmost medical and technical expertise. The unit’s head is Dr Wolfgang Koller.
Our unit was notified of the patient’s imminent arrival and we were able to prepare everything in advance. Prince Friso was brought to the hospital under reanimation conditions. Due to the length of time he was covered under the snow, his brain had been deprived of oxygen. The result was cardiac arrest, which lasted approximately 50 minutes. The patient had to be reanimated during this entire period. Fifty minutes is a very long time. One could say, too long. We hoped that the patient’s mild hypothermic state had sufficiently protected the brain against excessive damage. Unfortunately, our hope was in vain. Since last Friday, a team of specialists has been fighting to save Prince Friso’s life. Yesterday, a first MRI-scan was possible, without bringing the patient into danger. Since this examination and the latest neurological tests yesterday evening it is clear that the oxygen deprivation has caused extensive damage to the patient’s brain. At present it is not certain whether he will ever regain consciousness. In any event, rehabilitation will take months, if not years. Prince Friso’s family will now look for an appropriate rehabilitation facility.