Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Prince Friso: Little hope

It has been nearly six months since Prince Friso of the Netherlands was buried in an avalanche on February 17.   The German newspaper, Die Welt, recently noted that "with each passing day the hope of recovery fades."   Friso's wife, Princess Mabel, and his mother, Queen Beatrix, face "very difficult decisions."

Princess Mabel celebrated her 44th birthday on Saturday. It was her first birthday in some years without a kiss or a gift from her husband.  There is no doubt that she finds great joy in her two daughters, Countess Luana, 7, and Countess Zaria, 6, but Princess Mabel's life remains on hold.

Prince Friso is a patient at London's Wellington Hospital. He is in a coma with "severe brain injuries."   Princess Mabel visits him every day.  Queen Beatrix spends weekends with her middle son.

Prince Friso went skiing with friends on February 17.  He got caught in an avalanche and was buried for 25 minutes, where he was without oxygen.  It took a further 50 minutes to resuscitate him.  

Prince Friso was taken to a hospital in Innsbruck, where one of his doctors told the press a week after the accident that "it cannot yet be said whether or not he will ever regain consciousness."

Last month,  Friso's older brother, Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, spoke to reporters after visiting his brother. "I hope we can come in the future with a more positive report."

This is unlikely to happen.    A medical ethicist at Erasmus University Hospital in Rotterdam said "Six months is a critical level.  Until then, there is still hope for an improvement."

In the Netherlands, after six months of a patient being in a coma, doctors and family members can have treatment stopped.  But Prince Friso is in a private London hospital.  The laws in the United Kingdom are not the same as in the Netherlands regarding the ending of life support.

Princess Mabel and the Dutch royal family will have to face "difficult decisions."

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