(VIDEO) Cautious optimism: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's latest CT scan showed a "slight improvement," but the PM's condition is still serious and life-threatening, Hadassah Hospital Director Shlomo Bar Yosef told reporters during a press conference Saturday evening.
"As human beings, we're optimistic people, but we cannot say the prime minister is out of danger," the hospital director cautioned. "His condition is still serious."
Latest briefing on Sharon's condition (Footage: Channel 2)
All other medical parameters examined by doctors are in order and point to the stability in Sharon's condition Mor Yosef said, adding that the latest test showed the left side of prime minister's brain also appeared to be in order.
Mor Yosef noted Hadassah experts will meet Sunday morning to discuss the prime minister's treatment for the next 24 hours.
"As you know, part of the treatment plan is deep sedation. The final decision on when to wake him (Sharon) and examine the various functions of the brain will be taken during the morning session," he said.
"The hospital team is fighting together with the prime minister and his family to save his life," Mor Yosef added. "I would like to note with satisfaction the support offered by the responsible medical community in Israel. Hospital directors called me and all offered their encouragement in the main mission: Saving the prime minister's life. That's what we're busy doing."
Sharon undergoes CT scan Saturday
Earlier, senior sources close to the PM said Sharon's condition improved significantly, but the official hospital announcement put a damper on the optimistic reports.Still, overall it appears Sharon's condition has indeed taken a turn for the better, despite the difficult circumstances.
Saturday morning, Sharon underwent another CT scan to determine the level of intracranial pressure on his brain, Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital said.
Doctors at the hospital said the latest CT scan was routine and added the prime minister remains in serious but stable condition.
Surgeons expressed cautious optimism after operating on the prime minister for more than three hours Friday after a CT scan revealed a rise in intracranial pressure.
A CT scan conducted after the operation indicated that the bleeding was contained, and Sharon was placed back in his room.
Sharon’s chief surgeon, Dr. Felix Umansky, told The Associated Press the operation went very well and the CT scan was very good.
“Sharon is now stable and in intensive care,” Umansky said.
As to the possible damage to Sharon’s brain, he said, “there is always some damage when you have cerebral hemorrhage. We cannot assess the damage because he (Sharon) is under anesthesia all the time."
“We need to wait and see what will happen once we reduce the medication that keeps him under sedation,” Umansky added.
He said it was also too early to tell whether Sharon was partially paralyzed.
“We cannot assess his neurological situation,” Umansky said.
Earlier Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital Director Shlomo Mor Yosef told reporters that the CT scan indicated a significant improvement in the condition of Sharon’s brain.
Reading about Sharon (Photo: Haim Tzach)
“Hadassah is a hospital that honors the Sabbath, but we thought it was necessary to update you (reporters) due to the importance of the matter,” Mor Yosef said.
“The prime minister has been taken out of the operating room. During the surgery the intensified intracranial pressure was relieved, and some of the blood clots that remained from the previous operation were drained out. Currently there is no active bleeding and the intracranial pressure is back to normal.
“Following the operation Sharon was taken in for another CT scan, and I can say that in comparison to the previous CT tests we conducted on the prime minister since his arrival here, there is a significant improvement in the way the brain examination appears to the hospital’s experts. Despite this improvement, which we regard as significant, the prime minister’s condition continues to be serious but stable," Mor Yosef added.
Sharon was rushed into surgery late Friday morning following a CT scan he underwent to determine whether cranial bleeding had stopped.
Mor Yosef told reporters earlier that Sharon had been taken into surgery after the scan revealed new cranial hemorrhaging and a fluctuation in blood pressure.
As a result, it was decided to transfer the prime minister into surgery in an attempt to drain the bleeding and lower his blood pressure.
The medical significance of a rise in intracranial pressure is that it can cause damage to brain tissue, due to pressure placed on the nerve cells. This may result in irreparable damage to areas including the brainstem, responsible for respiratory and cardiac function.
One hospital official said, "There is no question that psychological pressure can influence a stroke of the type Sharon has suffered. You can understand that this type of pressure may have been caused by recent reports about the Sharon family and the Schlaf affair."
Sharon’s advisers outside hospital (Photo: AFP)
Mor Yosef refused to predict Sharon's chances of recovery, but noted the prime minister suffered damage to his right lobe. The PM's reaction to various forms of stimulus cannot be examined because he is still under anesthesia and being ventilated, Mor Yosef said, but added that Sharon's pupils were reacting well to tests.
Efrat Weiss, Ronny Sofer, Tal Rosner, Shani Mizrachi, Meital Yasur Beit-Or, and Itay Gal contributed to this report