Ariel Sharon has successfully undergone an emergency operation to remove part of his large intestine after his health suddenly deteriorated. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, his doctor at Jerusalem’s Haddassah hospital, says he is not in any immediate danger and is now in a serious but stable condition.
He was only given a slim chance of survival after a large swelling of his abdomen was discovered. It turned out to be a problem with his digestive tract.
Mor-Yosef says this latest operation does not enhance his overall chance of recovering because his lack of consciousness remains the biggest problem.
After suffering a massive stroke in January, Sharon, 77, was put into a medically-induced coma. Doctors later tried without success to rouse him.
Earlier this month they inserted a feeding tube in his stomach in preparation for possible transfer to a long-term care facility, underscoring medical experts’ beliefs that he would never recover.
Sharon suffered his brain haemorrhages at a crucial juncture in Israeli politics. He was fighting for re-election at the head of the new Kadima party on a promise to end conflict with the Palestinians.
His death would almost certainly leave Ehud Olmert, named interim prime minister after Sharon’s stroke, in charge until elections in six weeks time.