Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sharon's True State of Health Concealed from Public

Ha'aretz reports on their investigation into Sharon's health

Sharon's general medical condition was more critical than his doctors and advisers have reported since his first stroke on December 18, 2005. In addition to the heart problem they disclosed, Sharon was suffering from cardiac and cerebral diseases that the doctors kept from the public...

Haaretz's inquiry shows that Sharon also suffered from more serious, life-threatening heart problems, including a large aneurysm in the septum. This is known to be a source of cerebral blood embolisms, and indeed led to the blood clot that caused Sharon's first stroke, senior doctors at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem believe.

However, Sharon also suffered from other heart diseases. These include a shunt that causes blood to flow spontaneously through the hole in the septum from right to left - the wrong direction - which is dangerous. Sharon also had other conditions in the cardiac septum that created further risks of blood clots that could wind up in the brain...

Medical sources said that Sharon's doctors had an ethical obligation to tell the prime minister and his family, as well as his confidants and advisers, of the risks involved in giving him the blood thinners.

They said the doctors should also have reported the early signs of hemorrhaging and warned that an emergency evacuation to Hadassah might be necessary.

Also, the catheterization should have been held earlier and Sharon should have had to stay close to Hadassah, rather than go home to Sycamore Ranch - as he had done, they said.

"Had the catheterization been performed earlier, Sharon would very likely not have suffered the second cranial hemorrhage," a source said. "If Sharon had arrived even half an hour earlier at Hadassah he would have been saved, or at least the brain damage would have been a lot less significant." ...

Another senior doctor said the doctors were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The cardiac disease created the danger of an embolism, but the medicine to prevent this increased chances of cerebral hemorrhaging.

One of Israel's leading cardiologists said yesterday that the latest discoveries about the medical condition of Sharon only strengthen the suspicion that his treatment, especially after his first stroke, was affected by nonmedical considerations.

He was referring to Sharon's hasty resumption of his work routine, designed to create the impression of "business as usual" and make the prime minister appear to be healthy.

It was wrong of Sharon to resume his work and to stay at Sycamore Ranch, far from Hadassah, he said.

"Sharon should have been resting, close to the hospital where the doctors treated him and knew his medical history. He should have been in a protected, comfortable environment. That's exactly the `medical bulletproof vest' he should have been given," the cardiologist said.

For some reason, Meretz wants to use this as an opportunity to set up a government panel to investigate the concealment. Presumably to determine that the concealment was done for "political purposes." Meretz Party leader MK Zehava Gal-On suggests this will generate "one of the largest political scandals ever in Israel."

Myself, I can't imagine that generating political scandal out of a tragedy of this magnitude will actually strike a nerve with the country. Or that it serves any purpose except to milk it. Instead, Israel should generate emergency contingency plans for dealing with the PM's health. Which is a far more useful enterprise.


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