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Doctors Give Sharon Another Brain Scan
By JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press Writer 58 minutes ago
JERUSALEM - Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Ariel Sharon was taken for another brain scan on Sunday to help doctors decide when to bring the Israeli leader out of an induced coma, but one of Sharon's surgeons ruled out the possibility that he would resume his duties.
if (window.yzq_a)The surgeon, Dr. Jose Cohen, told Channel 2 TV that Sharon's chances of survival are high, but that his ability to think and reason would be impaired.
"He will not continue to be prime minister, but maybe he will be able to understand and to speak," the Argentina-born Dr. Cohen told Spanish-language reporters Saturday. His comments, which reinforced the widespread belief that Sharon's days as prime minister are over, were published in The Jerusalem Post.
Sharon has been hospitalized since suffering a massive stroke on Wednesday night. He has undergone two rounds of surgery to stop bleeding in the brain and to relieve pressure inside his skull. Doctors have placed him in what they call an induced coma — under heavy sedation and connected to a respirator — to give him time to heal.
Sharon's medical team gathered early Sunday to decide when to lift the sedation and pull him out of the coma, Hadassah Hospital spokesman Ron Krumer said. They suspended the meeting after about an hour for the brain scan, and were scheduled to reconvene later in the day, he added.
Earlier, the hospital said Sharon's condition had not changed overnight, and that he remained in critical but stable condition.
Channel 10 TV reported that doctors were inclined not to lift the sedation Sunday.
When waking Sharon from his coma, doctors will be "looking for some sort of response," the director of Hadassah Hospital, Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, said on Saturday. "If there is no response, that would be bad news."
At the Israeli Cabinet's regular weekly meeting Sunday, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told ministers that Sharon would want everyone to return to work on the country's pressing security, social and economic issues.
"This we will continue to do," he said. "We will continue also to carry out the wishes of Sharon, to manage affairs as necessary."
Before his collapse, Sharon appeared headed to win a third term in office at the head of Kadima, a new, centrist party he formed to build on the momentum created by his seminal summer withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from the
Gaza Strip' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Gaza Strip.
Israel' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Israel and the Palestinians have not managed to use the withdrawal to jump-start long-stalled peace talks, there had been hope peacemaking would resume after Palestinian elections in January and Israeli balloting in March.
It is far from clear if any of Sharon's potential successors would have the charisma, credibility and hard-charging spirit that helped him to begin carrying out the historic task of drawing Israel's final borders.
Dr. Gal Ifergan, a neurologist at Israel's Soroka Hospital who is not treating Sharon, said doctors on Sunday would look at factors such as the size of the brain, the results of CT scans and general body functions like blood pressure and body temperature before deciding whether to end the sedation.
A brain scan Saturday showed intracranial swelling had gone down slightly, Mor-Yosef said.
Sharon, who experienced a mild stroke on Dec. 18, felt weak on Wednesday and was rushed to Hadassah from his ranch in southern Israel when a blood vessel on the right side of his brain burst, causing massive cerebral hemorrhaging.
Outside experts have said the outlook for recovery is grim, and aides said they do not expect Sharon to return to the prime minister's office.
King Abdullah of Jordan called Olmert on Saturday to express "hope that the Mideast peace process would not be affected by any circumstances and developments surrounding Ariel Sharon's illness," Jordan's official Petra news agency reported.
Since Wednesday's stroke, Israelis from all walks of life have lamented Sharon's likely departure from the political scene because, with his larger-than life persona and warrior credentials, Sharon was widely seen as the man most capable of untangling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At synagogues throughout Israel on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, worshippers set aside political differences and prayed for Sharon's health.
David Zvuluni, huddled with three other worshippers outside his Jerusalem synagogue, said he opposed Sharon's Gaza withdrawal, but at this moment wished him only well.
"I don't believe there's a synagogue in the country that's not praying for Sharon," he said. "There are just a few lunatics, but the rest of the people of Israel are all praying for him, even those, like us, who opposed him."