Tests show activity in Sharon’s brain, coma persists
By Adam Entous
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Medical tests showed activity in both
sides of Ariel Sharon’s brain, doctors said on Saturday, but
they reported no signs the Israeli prime minister was emerging
from a coma 10 days after suffering a massive stroke.
Hadassah hospital said in its first update on Sharon’s
condition in more than 24 hours that tests showed “activity in
both brain hemispheres in keeping with the prime minister’s
state of consciousness.”
Earlier this week, Sharon, 77, responded to pain stimuli on
both sides of his body, but has not made notable progress
Doctors have been attempting to rouse Sharon out of the
coma, induced with sedatives to prevent his brain from swelling
after surgery, to determine the damage caused by the stroke.
According to Hadassah hospital, Sharon’s pulse,
respiration, blood pressure and body temperature remained
“sound and stable.” Ultrasound tests conducted after a
fluid-draining catheter was removed showed no expansion of
The health crisis has cast a pall over Middle East
peacemaking and an Israeli election on March 28. Sharon is not
expected to return to politics and his deputy, interim Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert, will likely lead his newly formed Kadima
party into the ballot.
Olmert will be named next week the temporary chairman of
centrist Kadima, which has advocated further peacemaking steps
with the Palestinians, as Israel’s political parties forge
ahead with election plans, a source from the party said on
The appointment will allow Olmert to handle technical
affairs for Kadima but does not guarantee he will be its lead
candidate during the ballot, the source said.
HOSPITAL DEFENDS TREATMENT OF SHARON
Some medical experts and the Israeli media have questioned
aspects of Sharon’s treatment, particularly a decision to give
him blood-thinning medication after he suffered a minor stroke
on December 18 caused by a blood clot.
The drug prevents clots but can cause haemorrhaging.
But Hadassah hospital brushed aside the criticism and said
there was no need for a formal inquiry.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of,” the deputy director of
Hadassah, Shmuel Shapira, told Israel’s Channel Two television
on Saturday. “Why would we need a formal inquiry?”
He added: “If the next patient comes, a twin of the prime
minister … it is safe to assume we would act in the same
Palestinians are gearing up for their own parliamentary
elections on January 25, but have warned Israel against
measures that would disrupt the vote.
Olmert has agreed to allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem,
captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War, to cast ballots
in the city at five polling stations to be set up in post
offices, a source in the prime minister’s office said.
Israel’s cabinet is due to approve the recommendation on
Sunday, but will not allow the Hamas militant group on ballots.
Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel and
gained a strong political footing among Palestinians with an
Palestinians hope to name East Jerusalem the capital of a
future state. Israel views the entire city as its capital.
(Additional reporting by Michele Gershberg)