As former world Formula One champion Michael Schumacher fights for his life after a skiing accident in France, an extraordinary story has emerged that a journalist dressed up as a priest to gain access to the hospital and its operating theatre.
Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm, who was present after the Tuesday press conference at the hospital, made the claim as reported by German newspaper Bild on their live updates.
As translated by Phillip Oltermann on Twitter:
Schumacher spokesperson Sabine Kehm says one journalist dressed up as a priest in order to sneak into operation room— Philip Oltermann (@philipoltermann) December 31, 2013
Neither the journalist nor his publication have yet been identified.
Kehm's quotes were subsequently picked up by a journalist from German publication Die Welt, and translated by the Guardian:
Apparently a journalist dressed as a priest had tried to gain access to Michael's room. I wouldn't have ever imagined something like this could happen.
The stream of information has been limited on Schumacher's condition—reflecting the uncertainty over his health and the hour-by-hour changes in status. The latest bulletin from doctors on Tuesday was that he had made a "slight improvement" over the past 24 hours.
As an intrusion to Schumacher's privacy, it will be deeply upsetting to many—not least his family, who are said to be keeping a bedside vigil as he fights for his life.
The news that a journalist went to these lengths to bring back news of Schumacher, or exclusive pictures, should perhaps come as no surprise, however grim it sounds.
Schumacher is one of the leading figures in his sport, a huge icon in Germany, and a well-known figure worldwide.
F1 drivers have been showing their support for the German on social media and backing him to make a recovery from a serious brain injury.