Sunday, April 22, 2007


By Israel Insider staff and partners January 5, 2006

Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef addresses reporters. (AP)

Hospital sources rejected reports that PM Ariel Sharon died at 11 am. Israeli media channels still report his condition is "very grave." Director of Hadassah Hospital Shlomo Mor-Yosef officially denies "rumors" of death and says Sharon's condition is "serious but stable."

Channel 10 reports those closest to Sharon as saying he has suffered "brain damage." Sharon has suffered brain damage -- resulting in a lack of cerebral activity -- but his heart continues beating, while he remains anesthetized and respirated.

Mor-Yosef, briefing journalists at the hospital's gate, said that "the prime minister is suffering from low intracranial pressure, and is heavily sedated. He will be respirated for at least the next 24 hours. All the parameters that we can check are as expected, following an operation of this type."

He said he came out to counter rumors of Sharon's death. "I came out to update you and to refute the rumors flooding the country," he said, referring to rumors claiming that Sharon had already died, and that the news is being delayed for one reason or another.

"Sharon is still alive," a Sharon aide in the intensive care unit told Ynet. But Channel Ten quotes "someone very close" to the PM as saying that he had suffered "brain damage" -- to what extent was not indicated -- unconnected with the effects of the operation.

Mor-Yosef called on journalists to "cooperate in a responsible manner with the transfer of information on the prime minister's condition," adding: "As Hadassah's director, I am obligated to bring every change in the prime minister's condition to light through hospital statements."

Mor-Yosef was not reporting any untruths, but neither was he addressing the critical issue of brain function, a subject which has been studiously avoided by all hospital officials.

One of the factors in the cloud of uncertainty regarding the announcement of brain death, media sources speculated, relates to the effect of the announcement on stock markets.

Another reason was a supposed regulation preventing publication of the PM's death except by the official representative of the government, presumably the Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon.

Perhaps the most important reason for the delay is to allow time for the preparation of a state funeral and the invitation to world leaders to attend. According to the expected schedule, Channel 10's Emmanuel Rosen reported,Sharon will be detached from one or more of his life support machines in the next day or two, with the likelihood that he will not be able to survive without support. At that point, Rosen, "the most difficult" decision would need to be made.

According to Channel 10, the official death announcement is planned for Sunday, when world markets are closed, assuming that this will suffice to accommodate the travel plans of A-list world and Jewish leaders.

At a Thursday 8 pm press conference, Mor-Yosef denied that Sharon was in a vegetative state and that his brain was functioning.

Israel Insider subsequently received an additional confirmation from one of its original sources, which we here quote verbatim:

"Israel Resource News Agency confirms that at about noon today, Israel time, doctors at Hadassah Hospital and security officials at the Israel Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv were simultaneously informed that Prime Minister Sharon had died during surgery.

Israel Resource News Agency has again spoken with officials from both Hadassah and the Israel Ministry of Defence who were officially informed at noon of Sharon's death.

That begs the question: why does the government of Israel deny reports of Sharon's death?

There are two possible explanations.

One is that, for whatever reason, the government is withholding the report.

The other explanation is that Sharon has been placed on a life support system, and that Sharon is 'only' clinically dead."

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