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MK Dr. Eldad: Sharon Physically Unfit to Run State

"Someone who is 78, overweight, short of breath and had a stroke cannot run a country." So says MK Aryeh Eldad, the former IDF Chief Physician. Hadassah Hospital doctors say Sharon is OK.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/19/2005, 2:04 PM / Last Update: 12/19/2005, 9:28 AM

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a TIA (transient ischemic attack) last night, was rushed to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, and is expected to remain hospitalized until at least tomorrow. A TIA, sometimes called a mini-stroke, involves a brief deprivation of adequate oxygen to part of the brain.

Though a TIA is said not to cause permanent damage, researchers have found that 11% of patients diagnosed with a TIA in an emergency room suffer a stroke within the next 90 days.

The Prime Minister underwent a battery of tests this morning, after which Hadassah Hospital's top doctors held a press conference. The doctors said Sharon's condition is fine and that no trace remains of the stroke. They said that Sharon will be released tomorrow morning, and will be able to resume a full work schedule after a short period of rest.

Dr. Ben-Hur of Hadassah said the stroke-causing clot had been caused by a minor malfunction of the heart, "not uncommon among otherwise healthy people." He said that Sharon would be called in for a heart check-up within a 2-3 weeks.

MK Eldad (National Union), who in the past headed the plastic surgery department in Hadassah Ein Kerem and is an expert in burns, said that last night's incident will "imbue the public with the realization" that a country cannot be run by someone in Sharon's medical condition.

"The incident at hand means that the Prime Minister must reveal his physical condition to the public," Eldad said, "so that the country's fate not be dependent upon a millimeter-sized blood clot." Sharon's press advisor Assaf Shariv said the Prime Minister has said in the past that he does not object to releasing such a report.

Shariv, asked about the political vacuum that would have been formed in the Kadima party had Sharon not recovered, said, "The other parties also do not have a #2 man... I can assure you that soon, Kadima will have a #2 person."

Prime Minister Sharon was on his way to his HaShikmim Farm near Sderot last night shortly after 8 PM, when he began to feel dizzy. He called his son Gilad, and his bodyguards decided to rush him to the hospital. Sharon was conscious the entire time, according to all reports and contrary to some rumors. The hospital staff quickly determined, with the help of an MRI test, that it was a TIA and that his life was not in danger.

Well-wishers from around the world and country quickly sent their blessings of a quick recovery. These included U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Likud candidates Binyamin Netanyahu and Silvan Shalom, Eli Yishai, and many others.