A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Friday, January 06, 2006

Too Early to Predict

AP: Sharon Improves but Prognosis Still Dire---

JERUSALEM - Ariel Sharon underwent five hours of emergency brain surgery Friday that doctors said successfully stopped a hemorrhage and relieved swelling inside his skull. Officials said his condition showed "significant improvement" but experts said the prognosis remained dire.

Sharon's chief surgeon told The Associated Press it was too early to assess how much damage the prime minister suffered after two similar operations in as many days. That determination will have to wait until at least Sunday, when doctors plan to wean him off the drugs that are keeping him in a state they described as a medically induced coma.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert took calls Friday from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a sign that the Israeli government was moving ahead without its hard-charging leader. Sharon's Kadima Party said it would rally around Olmert, and a new poll showed Kadima emerging victorious in March 28 elections under his leadership.

Palestinian leaders, holding a parliamentary election of their own Jan. 25, said they were in touch with Israeli officials about Sharon's condition. "We are closely monitoring the situation," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

The White House declined to speculate on how Sharon's illness could affect the peace process.

"The United States view of the Middle East is that the desire for progress and peace runs wide and deep," spokesman Trent Duffy said. "The president continues to pray for the recovery of Prime Minister Sharon."

Rice, who canceled a six-day trip to Indonesia and Australia, told Olmert that "every U.S. citizen, from the president to the last citizen, are praying for Sharon's health," according to Olmert's office.