ZURICH Amid allegations by the French newspaper Dauphiné Liberé that REGA, the Swiss air rescue service, may be involved in the mis-appropriation of the medical files belonging to German Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher, the Zurich-based non-profit has filed charges against ‘unknown’ persons and requested an official investigation.
According to REGA spokesperson Sasha Hardegger, the organization would like to clarify that it has “nothing to do” with the theft of Schumacher’s medical data. For this reason, it has lodged a legal complaint and asked Swiss prosecutors to examine the matter. Hardegger added that there was “no evidence” of any REGA employee involved in alleged wrong-doing. He also said that the organization assumed that – at this stage – no patient or doctor confidentiality had been breached.
The Dauphiné Liberé, which covers the Rhone-Alp region of France, including Grenoble where Schumacher had been hospitalised after receiving a serious head injury while skiing in the French Alps last 29 December, claims that the data has been offered for sale for 50,000 Euros to several media organizations by an “important helicopter firm with headquarters in Zurich.” REGA transferred the former F1 champion to Lausanne’s renowned CHUV university hospital in mid-June. The French daily noted that Schumacher’s medical dossier was shared with medical teams, including REGA, involved in the transfer. It also reported that French police had tracked the IP address of a computer used by REGA.
As a highly respected Swiss air rescue organization, REGA relies on voluntary donations and contributed time by pilots and other personnel to operate, primarily in Switzerland but also around the world. Hardegger maintained that the charity would not offer any more comment until the matter was clarified.