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Sharon update

by: Meital Yasur Beit-Or, Ynetnews - Last updated: 2006-01-11

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon

Doctors are still far from being able to assess the damage sustained by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and whether he will recover fully, one of his surgeons told Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

"We are still very far from having the ability to assess the extent of damage," Felix Umansky said. "It could weeks and even months."

Regarding Sharon's chances for a complete recovery, the surgeon added: "In some cases there's a return to full functioning, and in some cases there isn't."

Umansky noted Sharon "does not respond to verbal stimulation" like being addressed by name.

"We do not know what kind of damage was sustained by the right lobe and whether it was completely erased or not," the doctor said.

Meanwhile, Hadassah Ein Kerem doctors are expected to continue Wednesday reducing the inflow of sedatives into Sharon’s body.

According to estimations, doctors will completely stop the inflow of anesthetic medicine by the evening, after which they will have to wait up to 36 hours until the sedatives leave the prime minister’s body entirely.

After the sedatives’ influence subsides, doctors will be able to examine functions such as the opening of the eyes, movement and speech, all of which may be affected by the damage done to Sharon’s brain.

Until now doctors have mainly tested neurological responses originating from the prime minister’s brainstem.

Sharon aides remain anxious over their boss’ condition in spite of the cautious optimism expressed by doctors Tuesday afternoon.

“The positive signs over the last two days made us optimistic and we believe Arik (Ariel Sharon) will overcome this,” a close aide said.

“We are encouraged by the love and support the prime minister has enjoyed. We feel the whole public is with Arik in this fight. Tomorrow is another phase in the fight on his life. We hope he will be victorious in this fight too.”

Earlier, in his first public comments since the hospitalization of his father, Prime Minister Sharon’s eldest son, Omri, thanked the Israeli public for showing concern over the prime minister’s bad health.

In a short address to the media from outside Hadassah Hospital, Omri Sharon also thanked the medical staff caring for his father.

“I came out here to thank the citizens of Israel on behalf of my family for their affection and concern for my father’s wellbeing,” he said.

“Furthermore, we wish to express our gratitude to Hadassah, the medical team treating my father and his personal doctors, who have been treating him devotedly night and day. Thank you all; it makes us strong.”

Hadassah anesthesiologist Dr. Yoram Weiss reported Tuesday evening of a significant change in Prime Sharon’s condition, adding that the prime minister is not in immediate danger even though his condition is still listed as serious.

“In the first few days we had to stabilize the prime minister as far as pulse and blood pressure parameters are concerned; we’ve succeeded in this. Now we must remain patient as to the next phases," he said.

“We were standing on the edge of a cliff, and now we have stepped five feet away from it.”

Hadassah Director Prof. Shlomo Mor Yosef said that Sharon's breathing, blood pressure, pulse, bladder functioning and intracranial pressure are all considered normal at this time.

"This is without the assistance of medications to help his blood pressure. The prime minister's body temperature is also normal," he added.

Mor Yosef said that “as far as the functioning of Sharon’s brain is concerned, he has moved his right arm and leg more vigorously than yesterday (Monday).

“The prime minister has moved his right arm as well today. These are neurological changes that are indicative of slight progress in the functioning of Sharon’s brain,” he added.

Reproduced with permission: Ynetnews