Ailing Sharon Rushed Into Intensive Care
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JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Sharon was rushed to the intensive care unit of a Tel Aviv hospital yesterday to undergo a form of kidney dialysis, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Mr. Sharon’s condition deteriorated significantly earlier in the week, when officials at the Sheba Medical Center said the former leader’s kidneys were failing and that they had noticed changes in his brain membrane.
Mr. Sharon, 78, has been in a coma since suffering a massive stroke on January 4.
His blood will be filtered to remove the excess fluids accumulating in his body as a result of the kidney failure, the hospital said. He also is receiving antibiotics intravenously to treat a bacterial infection in his blood.
A hospital spokeswoman, Anat Dolev, declined to answer further questions.
A professor of cardiovascular medicine at London’s University College, Dr. John Martin, said the infection in Mr. Sharon’s blood indicates his immune system is weak, and the problem could damage other vital organs, such as the liver.
Normally, doctors do not treat patients in Mr. Sharon’s condition, Dr. Martin said. However, the dialysis and antibiotics could keep Mr. Sharon alive for weeks or even months, he said.
“The best thing might be to allow Ariel Sharon to die by not doing this kidney dialysis and that is considered ethical throughout the world,” Dr. Martin said.
Dr. Philip Stieg, director of the neurosurgery department at the Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, said the combined kidney failure and blood infection increase the chance that Mr. Sharon will contract pneumonia, a common killer of people his age and in his condition.
At the moment, Dr. Stieg said, Mr. Sharon is suffering “multi-system failure” and “it just becomes a snowball that just keeps getting bigger.”
“It’s obvious that they’re doing everything to keep him alive. It’s not clear why,” Dr. Stieg said.