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Sharon´s Doctors to Publish Medical Records

The Prime Minister's doctors, one of them a personal friend, will hold a press conference Monday to disclose his condition. He returned to his office Sunday and held a Cabinet meeting.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/26/2005, 6:19 AM / Last Update: 12/25/2005, 1:06 PM

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon joked with Cabinet ministers and warned them not to eat too many Chanukah sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).

He has told his personal physician to disclose his medical condition as opposition political parties have demanded. He had vowed to publish medical records during the last election campaign but never did so.

Among his physicians are a personal friend, Dr. Boleslav (Bolek) Goldman, who was on the medical team that treated the Prime Minister last week after he suffered a mild stroke.

"We will present all the information that needs to be presented," said Dr. Shlomo Segev of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

However, doctors told the Hebrew daily Ma'ariv last week that the public was in fact misled on Sharon's condition. Neurologist Prof. Tamir Ben Hur originally told reporters that the Prime Minster's only problem was "a light difficulty in speaking." Later, the newspaper quoted doctors as stating, "What was said at the press conference [last week], to make an understatement, is not exact."

"The Prime Minister did not know what day it was and could not count or perform basic functions for 45 minutes. There is no obligation to reveal everything, but to release incorrect information means taking a position, and this is very problematic," the physicians asserted.

The Ma'ariv report claimed the prime minister was sedated during a medical procedure following the stroke, during which time he was completely unaware of his surroundings.

Doctors have since reported that Prime Minister Sharon, who weighs nearly 300 pounds, has normal cholesterol and blood pressure. He is to turn 78 in February. Tests performed by Hadassah Hospital following the stroke revealed Sharon carries a congenital heart defect, which may soon require catheterization or surgery.

Before the 2001 elections, he was healthy but had gout, a buildup of uric acid in the joints, according to medical reports obtained and published by the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot.

Dr. Marc K. Siegel wrote in the New York Post that the reports of his stroke were confusing. "First, it was suggested that Sharon, the 77 year-old prime minister, had blacked out and sustained a stroke. Then came the story that by the time he reached the hospital he was awake--somewhat confused, yet conversant with family members. Finally, we heard that Sharon was lucid, joking, that he had experienced transient weakness and slurred speech but was now OK."

"Here in America, we didn't know what to think, especially when we heard that Sharon was back to meeting with military leaders in the hospital that very night.

"No matter what actually happened to Sharon on Sunday, lurking behind all reports was the ominous word 'stroke,' the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide, and No. 3 cause of death....

"We don't know exactly what happened to Sharon because we don't have his medical reports.

"But doctors shouldn't take these sides. Professionalism demands access to the patient and his records before rendering any opinion," according to Dr. Siegel.