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Hospital Director Attacks Rumors of Pre-Election Sharon Funeral

Rumors that PM Ariel Sharon will be taken off life-support in the coming weeks have prompted Hadassah Hospital officials to announce that Sharon could still come out of his coma naturally.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 3/7/2006, 1:44 PM / Last Update: 3/6/2006, 8:20 PM

“There is a chance that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will awaken from his coma,” said Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the director of Hadassah Hospital, on Monday. “It is not something that has no chance of occurring… though his condition upon waking up remains a question.”

Mor-Yosef, speaking about media issues at Tel Aviv University, addressed the decisions he had made prior to speaking with the press about the condition of the prime minister in the hours and days following Sharon’s strokes. “Nobody told me what to say,” insisted Mor-Yosef, “but my common sense made me aware of the governmental and political implications of my words… I consulted with the director-general of the prime minister’s office and the cabinet secretary, who consulted the attorney general.”

Mor-Yosef also revealed that countless efforts to bribe hospital staff and hack into medical records had been made by the media in order to gain access to Sharon’s records, which were kept confidential. “Horrible things were done,” said Mor-Yosef. He said he instructed the medical staff not to store any of Sharon’s information on the hospital’s computers, to document all records on paper, and to destroy the results of his CT scans and MRIs.

“I learned of a number of members of Hadassah’s personnel who were ambushed and offered large sums of cash," he said, "and many doctors who were secretly recorded by journalists."

Asked whether Sharon was given better treatment than an ordinary citizen, Mor-Yosef said that he was, and that there was nothing wrong with that. "I am proud of that,” he said. “He was given a private nurse and a doctor at his side constantly. All the hospital's physicians, including the director, took interest in his condition.”

It is suspected that Mor-Yosef made his statements in response to growing rumors that Sharon’s life-support may be removed in the coming weeks ahead of the elections in order to bolster the Kadima Party’s standing. An unconfirmed report on the Rotter.net forum, which was later sent out to journalists via beeper services, said:
“Persistent rumors based on ‘reliable sources’ continue to claim that the death of Ariel Sharon is expected within two or three weeks. According to these sources, Sharon’s confidants will request of his doctors to cease providing him with life-support in the coming period, in order to garner unprecedented public sympathy for Kadima close to the elections and maximize the party’s position in the 17th Knesset. This by way of the impressive state funeral in which heads of state from across the globe will take part to pay their last respects and praise his political path and courage.”