Princess Diana might have been saved from a 1997 Paris car crash if French medical stuff had not wasting time while bringing her to a hospital, a leading British surgeon indicated at an in quest into her death Monday as quoted in media reports.
Professor Thomas Treasure, who was asked to review records of the treatment given to Diana, said there may have been a "window of opportunity" to get her to hospital half an hour earlier and save her.
The medics did "very substantial good" in the initial period after the accident but that once Diana was in the ambulance, time began "slipping away," he told the High Court in London.
Treasure, a former president of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery, discussed what he called a difference between the French approach to victims of multiple injuries, which favors treatment by doctors at the scene, and the British approach of transporting patients to a hospital as quickly as possible.
"They had done a lot of good in that first half hour but from here, the next big amount of good that could be done required a surgeon," Treasure said.
Diana, ex-wife of heir to the throne Prince Charles, and her Egyptian lover Dodi Fayed were killed, along with driver Henri Paul, following the crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
The accident occurred about 12:25 a.m. But it was not until 1:40 a.m. that she was considered stable enough to be taken to a French hospital across Paris, where she arrived at 2:06 a.m.
On the way, the ambulance had to stop for about five minutes just meters from the hospital when her blood pressure plunged to dangerously low levels.
Once she got to the hospital, doctors battled to save her but gave up at about 4 a.m.
Inquest lawyer Nicholas Hilliard asked Treasure: "Is it your view that part of that time, the essential period, was squandered?"
He replied: "It's a hard word, isn't it, but I think opportunities were lost...when I pick through this with the benefit of hindsight (and ask) 'was this recoverable?' the answer is 'yes, it just about was.'"
A French and separate British investigation both concluded that the crash was caused by Paul being over the legal alcohol limit and driving too fast.
Fayed's father Mohamed Al-Fayed, the tycoon owner of London's upscale Harrods department store, believes they were killed in a plot as the British royal did not want to see the mother to the heir to the throne marry a Muslim.