Sharon’s condition has been classified as critical, Tel Aviv’s Chaim Sheba Medical Center Director Zeev Rotstein confirmed to reporters on Thursday. “His life is definitely in danger,” Rotstein said. He said that the condition of Sharon, 85, who has been in a coma-like state since he had a major stroke in January 2006, has been deteriorating for a while and that now “he has taken a turn for the worse.”
Liel Leibovitz checked in on Sharon 2009, nearly four years after his stroke, noting that former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview that had Sharon not suffered the stroke, “I think we would have a Palestinian state.”
But Sharon can do very little nowadays. He is in what his doctors define as a “persistent vegetative state,” not precisely brain-dead but incapable of doing much more than occasionally wiggling his toes when asked to do so by a physician or a family member. A television set in his room broadcasts images of animals, particularly cows. His sons are by his side, trimming his hair and playing music for his enjoyment. “There is a feeling of communication, of realization—I mean, the eyes are open and there is kind of, like, you feel that he feels your presence,” said Dr. Shlomo Segev, Sharon’s longtime personal physician. “So it’s not completely what we call a coma. Not a deep coma, for sure. But if you asked me to quantify that, I cannot.”
We’ll update you as we learn more about Sharon’s condition.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.