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Israeli Doctors Treating Ariel Sharon Admit Mistakes

The doctors treating former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who remains in a coma, are having second thoughts about the treatment he received early on.

More than three months after Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke, his doctors at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem believe it could have been prevented.

"We failed," said Dr. Haim Lotan. He was referring to a decision to treat Mr. Sharon with large doses of blood thinners after a mild stroke in December. Lotan and other doctors now admit that was apparently a mistake. In an investigative report on Israel's Channel 2 television, the doctors said the blood thinners may have caused the crippling stroke just two weeks after the mild one.

"It's a terrible, terrible feeling that is with me until today," said Dr. Tamir Ben Hur. He said it is a feeling of missing the mark, even though the team of doctors made the most careful and expert analysis.

The treatment of large doses of blood thinners came under stiff criticism, after Mr. Sharon suffered the major stroke and cerebral hemorrhage. At the time, doctors defended the treatment, but now they have to live with a decision that apparently was wrong.

Mr. Sharon has been in a coma since the stroke, and, last week, the Israeli Cabinet declared him permanently incapacitated. Ehud Olmert, who won Israeli elections in March, was appointed prime minister in his place.

Medical experts say Mr. Sharon is in a vegetative state, and the chances that he will ever regain consciousness are slim.