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Saturday, 10 March, 2001, 21:49 GMT
Diana 'could have been saved'
Flowers for the Princess
Tributes to Diana after the fatal crash in Paris
The Princess of Wales could have been saved after her fatal car accident in Paris, a top heart surgeon is claiming in a new book.

Professor Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world's first heart transplant operation, says he can no longer keep quiet about his views of events surrounding the high-speed crash four years ago.


My opinion is that they made a mistake in not rushing her to hospital quicker

Christiaan Barnard
The surgeon, who was a friend of the late Diana, believes that the princess may have lived had she been rushed to hospital sooner.

"Her death stunned me all the more as I was able to get a look at the particulars of the autopsy findings very soon after her death," he writes in the Sunday Telegraph.

"I think she could have been saved, because according to the report which I have seen, she died of internal bleeding."

'Mistake'

The professor, who last saw Diana at a private dinner party at Kensington Palace two months before her death, has aired his thoughts in his new book, 50 Ways to a Healthy Heart.

Commenting from his home in South Africa, he said: "My opinion is that they made a mistake in not rushing her to hospital quicker because her bleeding could only be stopped by surgery.
Christiaan Barnard
The leading heart surgeon reveals his opinions in a new book

"I understand they spent up to an hour at the scene of the accident."

The suggestion that the princess had a chance of survival is supported by an account by Dr Frederic Maillez, a doctor travelling in the opposite direction to Diana's black Mercedes.

He described the princess as "in the best shape" of the four crash victims, including Trevor Rees-Jones, the bodyguard who survived his multiple injuries.

Diana's companion, Dodi Fayed, died in the crash, along with the French driver, Henri Paul.

Mr Maillez said the princess "looked pretty fine ... I thought this woman had a chance".

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See also:

07 Sep 00 | Talking Point
Diana three years on - What's her legacy?
09 Jul 00 | UK
Royal tribute to Diana
31 Aug 00 | UK
Quiet remembrance for Diana
16 Nov 99 | Health
Heart pioneer defends record
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