Sharon 'Critical But Stable' After Second Surgery Alex Chadwick talks to Peter Kenyon, reporting from Jerusalem about the medical condition of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who suffered a massive stroke on Wednesday. He was rushed back into surgery Friday after a brain scan revealed his condition had worsened. Doctors describe Sharon's condition as "critical but stable."

Sharon 'Critical But Stable' After Second Surgery

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

Coming up on the program, a profile of the man who's called Representative No. 1. Prosecutors call him that. He's Ohio Congressman Bob Ney. He's under investigation for his connections to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

First, the lead from Israel and the latest on the condition of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. We have word that he is out of surgery at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Here's the hospital director, Dr. Schlomo Mor-yosef, speaking today.

Dr. SCHLOMO MOR-YOSEF (Hadassah Hospital): Even though the results of the CAT scans are better than yesterday, the condition is still critical.

CHADWICK: Earlier today, Mr. Sharon was rushed back to the operating room to drain blood from his brain after doctors detected bleeding and increased pressure. This surgery was the second major surgery for Mr. Sharon this week. He suffered a massive stroke on Wednesday. With us now from outside the hospital in Jerusalem is NPR's Peter Kenyon.

Peter, I understand there are two announcements after Mr. Sharon's surgery ended. What can you tell us?

PETER KENYON reporting:

Professor Dr. Schlomo Mor-yosef made statements both in Hebrew and in English, and he said at the end of this second bout of emergency brain surgery there was no evidence of bleeding in the cranial cavity and the pressure was within normal limits. He said the prime minister was transferred to the imaging center where he underwent another CAT scan which looked better than the previous one. But Dr. Mor-yosef said even though he would call it an improvement that the patient's condition is still critical but stable.

CHADWICK: What about other medical experts outside the hospital, Peter? What are they saying?

KENYON: They say the prognosis in cases such as this is very frequently negative and the chances of a full recovery are very slim. The prime minister's aides are already working on the assumption that he won't be back to work. The question is: What kind of recovery will the prime minister be able to make if he makes a recovery at all? The question is relieving pressure on the brain to give it a chance to heal, and that hasn't worked so far and now they're giving it another chance.

CHADWICK: It's 48 hours since this began with this massive stroke, Peter. Obviously, Israelis and Palestinians are anxiously following the story very closely. What are you hearing?

KENYON: We're hearing a little bit of reservation and muted comments because there is no final resolution to this crisis yet. However, on both sides there's a certain amount of anxiety because Ariel Sharon, for better or worse, is now linked to these highly divisive and major projects such as the removal of Israeli Jews from the Gaza Strip and the building of a separation barrier or a security barrier in and around the West Bank and the encircling of Jerusalem with other fences and walls. And the question is whether Israelis will permit anyone else to continue such large-scale policies. No one else really seems to have the weight or the clout to do that.

CHADWICK: Well, what is happening on the political front now with the government?

KENYON: Well, the latest poll showed very positive results for the new Kadima Party started by Ariel Sharon when he broke from the conservative Likud Party. The latest poll shows that they would still win a majority in parliament even under an alternative leader such as former Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert or even elder statesman Shimon Peres. The pollsters are saying they expect that to drop, that that is something of a sympathy vote, and the question is how far will it drop and will people retreat to the more conservative Likud Party and its most likely leader, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

CHADWICK: But, Peter, you're saying this poll was taken after the news of Mr. Sharon's stroke.

KENYON: That's right. It was listed with alternative leaders, not Mr. Sharon in charge of the Kadima Party and it was taken after the initial news.

CHADWICK: NPR's Peter Kenyon reporting from Jerusalem. Peter, thank you.

KENYON: You're welcome, Alex.

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