A series of weighty questions surrounds the serious deterioration in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condition Wednesday evening.
One of the main questions is why was Sharon not airlifted to hospital using the helipad located near his private residence, the Sycamore Ranch, and why was he not taken to the closer Soroka hospital in Be'er Sheva, instead of to Hadassah Ein kerem in Jerusalem?
The paramedic accompanying the prime minister on a regular basis noticed Sharon appeared to be dazed around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday. The PM's doctor, Shlomo Segev, was promptly called in to the Sycamore Ranch from his central Israel home. Following an examination, Segev decided Sharon should be taken Hadassah Ein Kerem by an intensive care ambulance.
Sharon was taken to Hadassah when he suffered a mild stroke recently, and was also scheduled to undergo an angioplasty there Thursday morning.
According to initial explanations offered, the ambulance left on its way to Jerusalem even before the proposal to airlift Sharon was raised. During the ride, the doctor and accompanying paramedic were concerned transferring Sharon to a helicopter would require needless shaking. At this point, Sharon was fully conscious, but his condition deteriorated as the convoy approached Jerusalem.
Sharon's former personal doctor, Bolek Goldman, said the decision to evacuate Sharon by ambulance and not by chopper was "the right decision taken by the right people…the difference in times between arrival by helicopter and by ambulance was not significant."
Sharon's associates said he conducted himself normally and there were no signs to attest to the crisis in store. However, later reports indicated Sharon appeared tired and pale at the end of the workday, and perhaps should have been taken to hospital earlier.
Another question is related to the fact Sharon continued to work following his first stroke and did not take a vacation. His doctors advised him to cut down on his work hours, but the prime minister continued to arrive at the office at 9 a.m. and would stay there until the afternoon. Sharon also insisted on returning to his southern Sycamore Ranch residence every evening, a 75-minute car ride.
Meital Yasur-Beit Or