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Sharon to Remain Sedated at Jerusalem Hospital

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attends a ceremony in Jerusalem, Jan. 4.
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Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attends a ceremony in Jerusalem, Jan. 4.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could be sedated for up to 72 hours following emergency surgery for a massive stroke, hospital officials said Thursday.

Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of Hadassah Hospital, said Sharon would remain in deep sedation and on a respirator to "recover from severe trauma."

The treatment would decrease pressure in Sharon's skull, and after the sedation period, doctors hope to gradually waken him, Mor-Yosef said.

Sharon, fighting for his life after seven hours of emergency surgery to stop widespread bleeding in his brain, was in serious but stable condition. The massive stroke made it unlikely that the 77-year-old prime minister would return to power.

Sharon's pupils were responding to stimulation, Mor-Yosef said, and other doctors not involved in his treatment said this was a positive sign of independent brain activity.

Vice Premier Ehud Olmert was named acting prime minister and convened the Cabinet for a special session, where Sharon's large chair at the center of the long oval table remained empty. "This is a difficult situation that we are not accustomed to," Olmert told the somber ministers.

A brain scan after surgery showed that the bleeding had been stopped, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit, Mor-Yosef said earlier in the day.

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