Was Diana allowed to die? Dr MonSef Dahman who treated princess reveals truth

'We fought hard, we tried a lot, really an awful lot,' said Dr MonSef Dahman


                            Was Diana allowed to die? Dr MonSef Dahman who treated princess reveals truth
Diana, Princess of Wales visits Colston's School in Bristol, UK, 19th November 1983 (Len Trievnor/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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For decades, the death of Princess Diana has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories, ranging from probable to outright ridiculous. One of those theories is that Diana was "allowed to die". That one now seems to have been put to rest, by none other than the doctor that treated Diana following the accident. 

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Of late, Princess Diana has returned to the public's imagination thanks to the BBC's Martin Bashir. The infamous journalist finally came clean about tricking his way to score the historic exclusive, leading the BBC to offer an apology. Prince William and Harry have slammed the BBC, accusing that interview of leading to her death. Whether it did, is a matter of debate but at least now we can close the book on one controversy theory.

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Doctor MonSef Dahman, who treated Diana at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, has opened up about the incident for the first time. In his exclusive interview, he has firmly put to rest the theory that Diana was allowed to die and detailed how his team worked tirelessly trying to save her life for hours.  

Messages are seen above the entrance to the tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed died in a tragic car crash, January 5, 2004, in Paris. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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Efforts to save Diana revealed

Dahman detailed the last moments of Diana's life in an exclusive interview with The Daily Mail. When the crash happened, in August 1997, he was the on-duty general surgeon who was summoned to attend to a "young woman". He told the Mail, "I was resting in the duty room when I got a call from Bruno Riou, the senior duty anesthetist, telling me to go to the emergency room. I wasn't told it was Lady Diana, but that there'd been a serious accident involving a young woman." As it turned out, that young woman was none other than Diana.

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"When you got a call from (such) a high-level colleague that meant the case was particularly serious. And so I got there fairly quickly. And then I realized the true seriousness of things," he noted. "For any doctor, any surgeon, it is of very great importance to be faced with such a young woman who is in this condition. But of course even more so if she is a princess," he said. 

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Diana arrived at the hospital at 2:06 am, after being revived in the ambulance. On arrival, she was x-rayed, which showed serious internal bleeding. The first thing doctors did was drain the excess fluid in her chest cavity, but it didn't stop the hemorrhaging. Eventually, the team treating her managed to identify a source of the bleeding - a significant tear in her pericardium, which protects the heart. 

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By 2:30 am, Diana's condition worsened, leading to Professor Alain Pavie joining the efforts. Pavie is considered to be France's top heart surgeon, and as the Mail noted, "If anyone could save her, it was him." Pavie believed they were yet to locate another key source of the bleeding, and shifted Diana to the operating theatre. There, a surgical procedure revealed a tear to the upper-left pulmonary vein, which Pavie soon stitched. But by then, it was too late. Her heart had already stopped before the procedure was done, and did not start again.

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The chapel at the pitié-salpêtrière hospital in Paris, France. (Vaughn/Wikimedia Commons)

'We fought hard' recounts Dahman

"We tried electric shocks, several times and, as I had done in the emergency room," Dahman said. "Professor Riou had administered adrenaline. But we could not get her heart beating again." The team reportedly attempted to resuscitate Diana for an hour but to no avail. "We fought hard, we tried a lot, really an awful lot," he recounted. "We had people brought to Pitié-Salpêtrière who were in a very poor state, more serious than Diana was when she arrived. And we did save some of those people, which made us particularly happy and proud. But that did not happen here. We could not save her," Dahman told the Mail. 

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At 4 am, the team ceased all their efforts, knowing that no more could be done. Dahman wasn't the only one to note that. The Paget inquiry into Diana's death did reveal "that every effort was made to save the life of the Princess of Wales. No other strategy would have affected the outcome." But despite those findings, theories remain to this day that Diana was allowed to die on purpose. 

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Decades after those efforts, Dahman is still haunted by the death of Diana. "When it's a princess and you follow her funeral along with billions of other people, and you had tried to save her, that obviously marks you. It marks you all your life. Because it's so terrible that this beautiful person had such a tragic end," he said.

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