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Sharon's Condition Worsens

WARFARE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

August 15, 2006|From a Times Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — The condition of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for more than seven months, has worsened, a hospital official said Monday.

A spokeswoman for the Sheba Medical Center said that a scan showed a new infection in Sharon's lungs and a deterioration of brain function, the Associated Press reported. The former Israeli leader was being treated with antibiotics and steroids. The spokeswoman did not say whether the downturn in his condition was life-threatening.

It was the second setback to Sharon's health in less than three weeks. On July 26, doctors put him on emergency dialysis to prevent kidney failure. Hospital officials said at the time that they had detected a change in his brain membrane.

Sharon, 78, suffered a massive stroke Jan. 4. Surgeons have operated on him several times to stanch hemorrhaging in his brain and to perform other procedures.

At the time of his stroke, Sharon was still prime minister and had just formed a new political party, Kadima, to contest upcoming elections. The party went on to form a new government, with Sharon's deputy and close confidant, Vice Premier Ehud Olmert, succeeding him as prime minister.

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