January 13, 2006
Sharon’s condition improves

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s doctors cautioned on Wednesday against being overly optimistic about his chances for recovery from a massive stroke, and said he still required low-level sedation.

The 77-year-old leader’s medical team at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital reported “further slight improvement” as they tried to gradually bring him out of an induced coma, but he remained in critical condition.{{more}}

If Sharon lives, most medical experts doubt he will ever recover enough to resume his official duties. The loss of the ex-general, who raised peace hopes by pulling settlers and troops out of Gaza in September after 38 years of occupation, could create a vacuum in the Middle East peace process.

Although one doctor said on Tuesday that Sharon was out of immediate danger, Dr. Yair Birenbaum, a senior Hadassah official, said that was an optimistic assessment. “I think it is a little too soon,” he told Army Radio.

Hadassah hospital director Shlomo Mor-Yosef told ABC News: “The prime minister can die tonight. The prime minister can go back to normal, relatively normal, life in six months … We can’t forecast what will be tomorrow.” (Reuters)