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Doctors Will Try to Bring Sharon Out of Induced Coma Monday


Doctors treating Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon say they will begin trying to revive him from a medically induced coma on Monday. The medical news comes as Israel's Cabinet says it will strive to carry out Mr. Sharon's wishes.

Doctors treating Ariel Sharon say a CAT scan performed on the prime minister is encouraging, indicating a slight reduction in brain swelling, and that Mr. Sharon's other vital signs are within normal limits.

Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the Director of Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital says, Mr. Sharon's doctors are ready for the next step in his treatment.

"Until Monday morning, we are not going to change anything in the management," he said. "Monday morning, we will gradually reduce the depth of anesthesia. We will be able to evaluate the neurological functions of the prime minister's brain."

Dr. Mor-Josef says, by Monday afternoon, Mr. Sharon's doctors should have a better understanding of the damage caused by the massive stroke and cerebral hemorrhage he suffered last Wednesday.

The Hadassah Hospital director says, while Mr. Sharon's condition has been stable since Friday, he remains in critical condition.

On Saturday, doctors said a CAT scan indicated slight improvement regarding swelling on the prime minister's brain. They also said the left side of Mr. Sharon's brain looked better than the right side, which they said was encouraging, because the left side of a person's brain controls the ability to speak.

Mr. Sharon's condition continues to dominate life in Israel.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet colleagues that, if Mr. Sharon could talk, he would ask them to continue working without interruption on Israel's pressing security, social, and economic issues.

Speaking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom, of the conservative Likud Party, said Israeli politicians are aware of the need for stability at this time.

"I think we need to do everything we can do to stabilize the situation," he said. "I have said, as deputy prime minister, on behalf of the Likud Party ministers, that we will give all the support that is needed to Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in order to stabilize the situation, and in order to help him manage. The people of Israel are asking us right now - they would like to see us united."

Israel's Cabinet on Sunday did not address whether to allow East Jerusalem Arabs to vote in Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for January 25. Senior aides to Mr. Sharon had said before his stroke that Israel would not allow East Jerusalem residents to take part in the polls, because the Islamic militant group Hamas is taking part. But no final decision had been made on the matter.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said, if Israel does not allow East Jerusalem residents to vote, the legislative elections will be postponed for six months.

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