After three major operations within three days to halt repeated hemorrhaging and bring down intracranial pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was in serious but stable condition on Sunday.
According to Dr. Jose Cohen, the Hadassah-University Medical Center neurosurgeon who has performed three operations on Sharon, the chances that the prime minister will survive his massive stroke are “very high. He is a very strong man, and he is getting the best care.”
However, Cohen told reporters “[Sharon] will not continue to be prime minister, but maybe he will be able to understand and to speak.”
Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) director-general Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef said in a bulletin to reporters that the accumulation of excess fluid in Sharon’s brain tissue had been reduced after five hours of surgery on Friday, that the bleeding had been halted and that his blood pressure and other vital signs were normal.
Mor-Yosef reiterated that while the latest CT scan showed that although the left side of Sharon’s brain – his dominant hemisphere because he is right-handed – appeared not to be damaged by his hemorrhagic stroke on Wednesday night, there was no way to know how much damage had been caused to the right side. He showed some optimism by noting a “small improvement in the radiological picture” since Friday.
On Sunday morning, an interdisciplinary team of experts at Hadassah reassessed Sharon’s condition and decided to perform another computerized tomography (CT) scan of his brain prior to deciding whether to gradually reduce the amount of drugs that have kept him in an induced coma.
Sharon suffered a massive brain hemorrhage Wednesday night, and underwent a marathon operation to stop cerebral bleeding. He was brought to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center at around 11pm, and the last of two operations was completed Thursday morning.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert chaired his first weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, as the cabinet convened, despite Sharon’s illness, in order to send the message that matters of state are still being dealt with.
At the beginning of the meeting, Olmert said, “Israeli democracy is strong and all institutions are functioning in a stable, serious and responsible manner; this is as it should be and this is how it will continue.”
Olmert is also scheduled to have additional briefings by security officials after the cabinet meeting, as well as meet throughout the day with a number of advisers. In his capacity as acting prime minister he is expected to continue to draw on the services of Sharon’s top staff.