Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sharon - hospitalized again - Running UPDATES

Police stand guard outside Hadassah hospital's emergency room, where Sharon is being operated on.


10:06am (Israel Time) Ariel Sharon emerged from hours of surgery Thursday morning with vital signs showing "functional and stable" levels, but the prime minister's condition remained grave, said Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

08:43am (Israel Time) Sharon initally refused to be evacuated to hospital on Wednesday night (Channel 1)

Foreign exchange rates in Israel are soaring on news of Sharon's condition.

The NYTimes gives a medical viewpoint about treating strokes with blood thinners.
The huge stroke suffered last night by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, caused by uncontrolled bleeding into the brain, is likely to be devastating and nearly impossible to treat because Mr. Sharon, 77, is taking blood thinners, neurologists say.

Although Mr. Sharon was taken to surgery to try to remove the blood pouring into his skull, it was a desperate move, neurologists said.

Hemorrhages in the brain while the patient is taking blood thinners "are usually devastating events," said Dr. Matthew E. Fink, chief of the Division of Stroke and Critical Care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "This sounds really terrible."

Statistically, the likelihood of death is greater than 80 percent, Dr. Fink said.
So much for the myth of the excellence of Israeli medicine. So many mistakes were made in his treatment. The decision to go to Hadassah, rather than the local hospital, the decision to drive rather than take the copter. And this decision, with the bloodthinners, which appears to have led to the more serious stroke in the first place.

07:33am (Israel Time) Peretz to Olmert: I am at your disposal, I will do all I can to help (Israel Radio)

07:29 IDF arrests eight wanted militants across West Bank overnight Wednesday (Itim)

06:55 Doctor: Sharon still under anesthesia, on respirator, in very serious condition (Haaretz)

06:54 Doctor: We expect surgery to continue for a few more hours (Haaretz)

06:44 Sharon returned to surgery after undergoing CT scan (Channel 1)

06:14 Settler leader: All Israelis, Gaza evacuees too, hope for PM`s recovery (Israel Radio)

06:10 Report on Sharon`s condition to be broadcast at 6:45 A.M. Israel time (Haaretz)

05:51 PM aide: Sharon`s surgery is complete, doctors will issue further report soon (Haaretz)

05:44 PM aide: Situation very sensitive, hospital will issue update later (Haaretz)

05:31 Sharon`s physician leaves hospital, refuses to comment on PM`s condition (Haaretz)

05:19 Surgeons finish draining blood from PM`s brain, still cauterizing blood vessels (Ch. 1)

05:14 Egypt, Jordan send get-well wishes to PM Sharon (Army Radio)

04:30 Hadassah hospital: PM`s surgery has lasted five and a half hours so far (Channel 1)

02:28 (Israeli Time) Sharon personal physician: `I expect him to emerge from [surgery] safely` (AP)

02:23 (Israeli Time) Hospital sources: Bleeding in PM`s brain is extensive, but not in brain stem (Ch. 10) [-- this corrects an earlier report I heard on Fox news that the bleeding was in the brain stem. ]

Sharon`s aides: We are waiting for a miracle (Channel 10)


As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was undergoing emergency neurosurgery after he suffered from a severe stroke and cerebral hemorrhaging late Wednesday night, the prime minister's close associates said of his condition: "Hope for a miracle."

According to a medical expert, the procedure is life threatening. Asked what are the chances of surviving this type of surgery, the doctor replied, "Let's be optimistic, some people survive it."

According to Fox News, the bleeding is into Sharon's brain stem, which, according to Dr. Charles Krauthammer is the worst news.

Doctors who have not examined Sharon but are experts in the field said his chances of a full recovery are slim.

"It's among the most dangerous of all types of strokes," with half of victims dying within a month, said Dr. Robert A. Felberg, a neurologist at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. "Any time they give blood thinners to prevent clots there is a risk" that too much can cause a hemorrhage, he said.

"The fact that he's on a respirator means its extremely serious," said Dr. Philip Steig, chair of neurosurgery at Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York. However, he said that depending on the severity of the stroke, doctors may be able to sustain Sharon on a respirator for weeks.


Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said on the prime minister's condition. "I am very worried, I call on everyone listening to pray for Sharon's recovery. please recite the following Tehilim psalms: chapter vav, kaf, kuf lamed, kuf kaf alef, kuf mem bet.
[6, 20, 130, 121, 142]

ForNow at RogerLSimon's reminds us where to find this classic tribute to Sharon by Victor Davis Hanson. It's amazing, though, how much of it no longer applies.
Sophocles once wrote a magnificent play about the Greeks' greatest fighter at Troy after Achilles — Ajax, as irreplaceable in war as he proved expendable in peace. During the struggle for Troy, the Greeks were often saved by the towering, clumsy "donkey." Without the dash of a youthful, handsome Achilles or the divine dispensation of a crafty Odysseus, Ajax battered down the Trojans — fighting out of a sense of duty, personal honor, and perhaps a sheer love of combat.

This, certainly, can no longer be said of Sharon.


Sharon rushed to the hospital again after feeling unwell. There is speculation he suffered another stroke. While Debka reports he had chest pains.

He was scheduled to undergo heart repair tomorrow.

UPDATE: Looks like Debka was right. In a lengthier article, the JP is reporting chest pains and not a stroke.
The Prime Minister initially complained of feeling chest pressure and pain, and said that in general he wasn't feeling well.

Two Sharon associates said the prime minister was feeling unwell at his Negev ranch, and following a discussion with his personal doctor decided to be taken to hospital.

Looks like this was just precautionary - as far as we know at this point.

UPDATE II: Looks like it was a significant stroke. The chest pains were the warning signs, and Sharon has suffered a cerebral hemmorhage possibly as a result of anti-coagulant shots he has been receiving. He is currently undergoing surgery for intra-cranial bleeding. Sharon was fully conscious when he was brought to the hospital and was anaesthetized for treatment.

Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the hospital's director general, said Sharon had "massive bleeding and was being transferred to an operating theater."

Dr. Shmuel Shapira of Hadassah Hospital told Channel 2 TV that Sharon suffered "a massive stroke, he was taken to an operating room to drain the blood."

It looks like whoever made the decision NOT to take him to the local hospital made a serious error. Apparently the stroke was suffered enroute to the hospital.

Ehud Olmert has taken over the duties of the Prime Minister.

Senior officials at the Prime Minister's Office said "the situation is difficult. We are praying the internal bleeding Sharon is suffering can be stopped. We're trying to maintain out optimism but the situation is not looking good."

One of the prime minister's aides told Ynet: "The situation is not good. We're tense. It isn't easy facing this situation. We're concerned."

Sharon`s aides: We are waiting for a miracle (Channel 10)

UPDATE III: Mere Rhetoric is liveblogging Hebrew radio Updates.

UPDATE IV: Rabbinate organizing prayer rally at Western Wall; prime ministerial duties handed over to Ehud Olmert. And the level of security around Olmert's house is being boosted.

Refuah Shelamah, Ariel.

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