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PM Sharon’s Fight for Life: Day 6

See below for updates.

 

Prime Minister Sharon remains in serious but stable condition, as the dosages of the anesthesia drugs, which have kept him in the induced coma, have been gradually reduced. And as mentioned yesterday, there is cause for some optimism.

Soon after the first reduction, Sharon began to breathe by himself, although he continues to be connected to a hi-tech ventilator.

 

When pressure was applied on a certain part of his body to cause pain, Sharon unconsciously reacted by slightly moving his right limbs, and the lower the remaining dosages, the more he moved them. In addition, he reacted to the pain stimulus with increased blood pressure, which in this case was welcome and normal, Mor-Yosef said.

 

The prime minister’s vital signs of blood pressure, breathing rate, pulse and intracranial pressure remain “within the normal range.” His eyes have not yet opened, as he remains under the effects of anesthesia.

However, it may be days before we know the extent of brain damage suffered by Sharon, and it is also too early to predict his cognitive abilities.

 

Meanwhile,  it has emerged that Sharon suffered from a disease, which, if diagnosed earlier, may have prevented the brain hemorrhage.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received anticoagulant drugs despite suffering from a disease of the blood vessels in the brain which, if diagnosed, would almost certainly have prevented doctors from prescribing these drugs – which are known to increase the risk of strokes and brain hemorrhage. One doctor close to the situation told Haaretz Monday that the disease was diagnosed by doctors treating Sharon at Hadassah University Hospital during his current hospitalization.

 

The disease, cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) could have greatly increased the risk of a brain hemorrhage, following the administration of the medication that he received after his first stroke Dec. 19, Haaretz has learned.

 

The diagnosis ocurred after examining CT scans Sharon has undergone, according to testimony presented Monday to Haaretz by a medical source involved in the treatment of the prime minister.


Ron Krumer, Hadassah’s external affairs director, said in response “We are busy treating the prime minister and fighting to save his life. We are not dealing with anything else.”

 

The doctor who provided the testimony defined the administering of the blood-thinning medication after the first stroke as a “screw up.”

 

According to the medical testimony, had the disease been detected when Sharon was admitted to Hadassah University Hospital after his first stroke, the doctors would probably have refrained from administering the blood-thinning medication, which, as doctors believe, led to the subsequent severe hemorrhaging and the prime minister’s current condition.

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According to a senior medical source, in some instances CAA is a genetic disorder, while sometimes its origin is unknown. The disease is diagnosed by means of interpreting CT and MRI scans, or by performing a biopsy on a small sample of the brain. However, medical literature is also filled with testimony that the disease is very difficult to diagnose, and can sometimes be detected only following a brain hemorrhage.

 

The medical testimony given to Haaretz on Monday reinforces the questions raised regarding the quality of the treatment and supervision Sharon received in recent weeks, following his hospitalization after the first stroke he suffered.

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A senior doctor told Haaretz Monday night that CAA is one of the main causes of cerebral bleeding in elderly individuals, and that studies in recent years have shown that the administering of blood-thinning medication to individuals with CAA is a “significant factor” in causing cerebral hemorrhages.

 

The central question now, said the senior doctor, concerns whether the MRI after the first stroke made it possible to identify the illness or signs of a possible illness.

 

“If the image facilitates identifying the illness and this wasn’t done, then it appears that we are dealing with a significant failure on the part of Hadassah,” the doctor said. “However, it is important to note that it is difficult to diagnose this illness by means of computer imaging only.”

Just add it to the list of questions already being asked, such as “Why was Sharon given blood thinners?”, “Why wasn’t he airlifted to hospital?”, and “Why wasn’t he taken to the closer Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva?”

 

12:55PM: Look what they are using to try and stimulate his senses:

Sharon’s sons remain by his side, speaking to him and playing recorded Mozart pieces for him, reporters said.

 

Among the ways in which physicians hoped to stimulate Sharon’s senses Tuesday is to place a plate of shawarma, the sliced meat dish said to be the prime minister’s favorite, close enough for him to smell it, Army Radio reported.

If anything could stimulate his senses, it would be shawarma.

Here’s hoping it works.

 

4:50PM: Sharon has reportedly exhibited pain-induced responses on the left side of his body, after having previously moved the right side. Yeah, yeah, there is an obvious joke there, but no fewer than two bloggers have already made it. So I’ll resist.

 

9:00PM: According to Dr. Yoram Weiss, one of Sharon’s anesthesiologists, he is no longer in immediate danger.

 

Meanwhile, Ha’aretz are claiming that doctors knew during Sharon’s first hospitalization a few weeks ago that he suffered from the disease of the blood vessels in the brain.

Physicians at Hadassah Univer sity Hospital, Ein Karem knew during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s first hospitalization in December that he suffered from cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), a disease of the blood vessels in the brain, a medical source told Haaretz on Tuesday.

Prescribing anticoagulant drugs to patients with CAA could increase their chances of suffering a cerebral hemorrhage, like the one Sharon experienced last week. In spite of this, the source said, Sharon recieved the blood thinners.

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The diagnosis ocurred after examining CT scans Sharon underwent, according to testimony presented Monday to Haaretz by a medical source involved in the treatment of the prime minister.

 

Ron Krumer, Hadassah’s external affairs director, said in response “We are busy treating the prime minister and fighting to save his life. We are not dealing with anything else.”

 

The doctor who provided the testimony defined the administering of the blood-thinning medication after the first stroke as a “screw up.”

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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