Israeli PM Ariel Sharon receives feeding tube

Thursday, February 2, 2006

On Wednesday, doctors inserted a feeding tube into Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stomach.

"Tonight Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent a gastrostomy, a process in which a tube is inserted into the stomach for feeding. The procedure was carried out under anesthetic and was successful," said Ron Krumer, a spokesperson for Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital where Sharon is continuing to be treated for a major stroke he suffered on January 4, 2006. He then added that, "the Prime Minister is still in a critical but stable condition."

Doctors say that the chances are slim that he will return to consciousness or return to a meaningful level of activity. As a result it is expected Sharon will be unable to serve as Prime Minister anytime in the future. Currently his position is being filled on an interim basis by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Sharon, who had been Prime Minister of the State of Israel since 2001, suffered a massive stroke on January 4 during the run up to a new series of Israeli parliamentary elections. His centrist Kadima Party faced fierce competition from the conservative Likud Party (which he split off from in late 2005) and the democratic socialist Labour Party.

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