Sharon to be sedated for the next 24-48 hours
Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon fought for his life Thursday following eight hours of emergency surgery to stop widespread bleeding in his brain. Following this massive stroke, Sharon will not be able to return to power.
Vice Premier Ehud Olmert was named acting prime minister and convened the Cabinet for a brief session. "This is a difficult situation that we are not accustomed to," Olmert told the somber ministers.
A brain scan after surgery showed that the bleeding had been stopped, and Sharon was transferred to the intensive care unit, said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the director of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Sharon remained sedated and on a respirator, hospital officials said.
In the afternoon, Mor-Yosef dismissed rumors that Sharon died and said his condition was "stable, but very serious." Doctors said it usually takes at least a day after surgery to determine the extent of any damage and Mor Yosef stated. Sharon is heavily sedated and will remain on respiration for at least the next 24 hours. "All the parameters... are as expected following this type of surgery. Part of the treatment of the prime minister, in order to preserve low pressure in the skull, is sedation and respiration for at least the next 24 hours."
In his latest briefing, Mor Yosef said Thursday night that "the prime minister is suffering from low intracranial pressure, and is heavily sedated. He will be ventilated for at least the next 24 hours, and perhaps even for the next few days." "This is a lengthy process," Mor-Yosef noted when asked when Sharon could be expected to regain consciousness. "It won't be in the coming hours. It will be at least 48 hours after the prime minister's emergence from surgery." He said the treatment would decrease pressure in the prime minister's skull.
After the sedation period, doctors plan to gradually waken the Sharon. Mor-Yosef said that said Sharon's pupils were responding to light, "which means the brain is functioning."
Sharon fell ill at his ranch Wednesday night and was rushed to Hadassah Hospital, where doctors put him on a respirator and started emergency surgery about midnight. Doctors said Thursday morning they had stopped the bleeding during initial surgery, but Sharon was sent back to the operating room because a brain scan showed he required more treatment. He later underwent a second scan before being sent to the ICU, Mor-Yosef confirmed.
Sharon originally had been scheduled to undergo a procedure Thursday to seal a hole in his heart that contributed to an initial stroke, which Sharon suffered about two weeks ago.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi postponed his visit, scheduled to begin Sunday following the news from Jerusalem.