Journalist dressed as priest targets Schumacher's room

A REPORTER dressed as a priest had tried to get into severely injured former racing driver Michael Schumacher's hospital room.

The widely condemned attempt to find out more of the former Formula One champion's condition came after French doctors performed a successful operation to reduce bruising in his  brain.

The operation improved the Schumacher's condition but still left his hopes of recovery "fragile", it was announced yesterday.

Not long after the press conference Grenoble, it emerged the news reporter dressed up as a priest to attempt to gain access to Michael Schumacher's hospital room, Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm revealed.

The  reporter made the startling decision to ignore the wishes of both Ms Kehm and the doctors to respect the Schumacher family's privacy in what is a desperate time.

Speaking to the German newspaper Die Welt, Ms Kehm said: "Apparently, a journalist disguised as a priest has tried to get access to Michael's room. This is something I would not have thought possible. As soon as his disguise was recognised, he was expelled from the hospital."

Doctors at the Grenoble University Hospital said that a "brief improvement" in the German driver's condition had given them a "window of medical opportunity" to carry out a two-hour operation to remove a "haematoma" or serious bruise from within Mr Schumacher's brain.

"A scan this morning shows that this operation was performed with success and that his condition is now under better control," said Dr Jean-Francois Payen, the anaesthetist in charge of the hospital intensive care unit.

Both he and the consultant neuro-surgeon Emmanuel Gay told a press conference that it was too early to predict whether Mr Schumacher, 44, would recover from his serious skiing accident on Sunday. They said that there were other areas of bruising within the ex-driving champion's brain. They were smaller than the haematoma removed late last night but more inaccessible.

Earlier it emerged that Mr Schumacher's helmet had split into two parts in the accident on Sunday.

Medical experts said that the next 48 hours would decide whether the retired German racing driver would survive or recover partially or completely.

Professor Denis Safran, of the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris said that it was notoriously difficult to predict the consequences of the kind of injuries, including internal brain lesions, suffered by Mr Schumacher.

"He could die. He could have serious lasting effects such as paralysis or loss of understanding or he could recover completely," the professor said.

The number of media personnel outside the hospital has risen to more than 100 since Mr Schumacher's arrival at the hospital on Sunday.

The widespread coverage is a clear indicator of the shock that Schumacher's condition has had on the world, with the 44-year-old being constantly monitored by medical staff while his chances of survival are being rated on an hour-by-hour basis.

Those with cameras outside the hospital have agreed not to direct them at the emergency room or the window of the room which they believe Schumacher to be kept in.

On Monday doctors treating Mr Schumacher maintained they "could not yet predict" his future.