London, Nov 20 (UNI) Princess Diana could have survived the car crash had French doctors not ''squandered'' crucial minutes treating her at the scene, her inquest was told.
British surgeon Thomas Treasure told the inquest yesterday that there was enough time to take her to hospital for a potentially life-saving operation when she was put in an ambulance 35 minutes after the accident.
But vital moments slipped away because the medics opted to tend her in the stationary vehicle for another 40 minutes before deciding whether she was stable enough to leave.
The French doctors, however, said without their actions Diana would have been dead on arrival because she was so fragile.
Dr Treasure said the Princess had successfully been stabilised soon after being put into the ambulance and could have been taken to hospital then.
''They had done a lot of good in that first half an hour but the next big amount of good that could have been done required a surgeon,'' he said.
He questioned the decision of a French doctor in Diana's ambulance who had ordered the driver to drive slowly and stop for five minutes when it was just a few hundred yards from the hospital.
He also suggested that the surgeon who operated on Diana should have opened her chest from the front rather than the side, which might have allowed him to discover the source of her internal bleeding more quickly.
Earlier, the inquest heard that the princess was so traumatised as she lay in the wrecked Mercedes that she struggled with doctors and refused treatment.
Medics had to restrain, and eventually sedate, the princess as she thrashed about and tore off a drip inserted in her arm.