A French doctor has broken his silence on the desperate battle to save Princess Diana's life. The royal got into a car accident in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris in 1997 along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul. Fayed and Paul died instantly, while Diana sustained severe injuries and was first treated at the scene before she was rushed to hospital due to cardiac arrest.
MonSef Dahman said he wasn’t supposed to be in Paris at the time, but had to stay because his wife was due to give birth to their second child. At 2am he received a call from a senior anaesthetist, who told him to run to the emergency room.
"I wasn't told it was Lady Diana, but [only] that there'd been a serious accident involving a young woman. The organisation of the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital was very hierarchical. So when you got a call from [such] a high-level colleague that meant the case was particularly serious", he told the Daily Mail.
After entering the emergency room, he was told that the patient he was about to treat was none other than the Princess of Wales. Doctor Dahman declined to reveal details of the treatment, citing patient confidentiality, but said that the royal was suffering from "very serious internal bleeding" and underwent a procedure to remove excess fluid from her chest cavity.
At 2.15am Princess Diana suffered another cardiac arrest and Dahman was told to perform a surgical procedure. "I did this to enable her to breathe. Her heart couldn't function properly because it was lacking in blood", the doctor said.
The surgery revealed that the royal had suffered a tear in the pulmonary vein. Alain Pavie, one of France’s leading heart surgeons, who was also summoned to perform surgery on Diana, sutured the lesion, but Diana’s heart stopped beating, said Dahman, adding that he and his colleagues did "everything possible" to resuscitate the royal for an hour.
"We tried electric shocks, several times and, as I had done in the emergency room, cardiac massage. Professor Riou had administered adrenaline. But we could not get her heart beating again. We fought hard, we tried a lot, really an awful lot. Frankly, when you are working in those conditions, you don't notice the passage of time", he told the Daily Mail.
As mentioned earlier, Dahman revealed that he decided to speak out on the issue now because he wanted to stop conspiracy theories claiming that the French medical staff were part of a plot to kill Diana.
The two separate investigations conducted by French and British police revealed that Dodi Fayed’s driver Henri Paul was responsible for the crash. He was driving too fast in the tunnel in order to escape paparazzi and was intoxicated with drugs and alcohol.
However, Dodi's father Mohamed Fayed, an Egyptian businessman and billionaire, claimed the crash had been planned by the MI6 and the late husband of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip. Other conspiracy theories suggest that Diana’s ex-husband Prince Charles was involved in a murder plot.
Classic 'If Only' Case
Renowned British forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd, who participated in the UK inquest into Diana’s death, has dismissed conspiracy theories surrounding the car crash. In his book "Unnatural Cases", he wrote that the Princess of Wales would have survived the crash if only she had worn a seatbelt.
"Had she been restrained, she would probably have appeared in public two days later with a black eye, perhaps a bit breathless from the fractured ribs and with a broken arm in a sling If only she had been wearing a seat belt, if only she had hit the seat in front of her at a slightly different angle or slower speed, and if only she had been put in an ambulance immediately after the Pont de l'Alma tunnel crash", Shepherd wrote in his book.
Dodi Fayed’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only person who survived the crash.