Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday successfully underwent a preplanned surgical procedure at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, during which a feeding tube connected to his digestive system was inserted.
Through this tube Sharon receives fluids, as he is under sedation and cannot swallow. He was later returned to the Department of Respiratory Care and Rehabilitation where he has been treated in recent years. He is now in stable condition.
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Sharon has been unconscious since 2004, when he suffered a second stroke in a one-month period.
According to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Sharon was never diagnosed as comatose, but rather as "minimally conscious". In recent years he has responded to sound stimuli and was able to inconsistently respond using eye and finger movement.
Since then, despite various reports of progress, there was no significant change in his condition. Last January his doctors said that in special tests he was found to have "significant brain activity."
Chaim Sheba Medical Center said the test was done as per the medical center's suggestion and with agreement from Sharon's family, with its purpose being using an advanced scanning device as leverage for future research.
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