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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Wednesday underwent surgery to reattach a piece of his skull, a day after the procedure was delayed because of a respiratory infection, hospital officials said.
"The surgery that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was supposed to have yesterday took place today and ended successfully a short while ago," Hadassah Hospital said in a statement. It said Sharon was taken back to his room in the intensive care unit, where he has been hospitalized since suffering a massive stroke on Jan. 4.
Doctors removed the piece of skull to operate on his brain after the stroke. Wednesday's surgery was the eighth operation on the prime minister since he fell ill.
On Tuesday, Hadassah officials announced that the operation, orginally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed after physicians found an infection in his upper respiratory tract.
When the infection was discovered during a routine examination early Tuesday, doctors began treating Sharon with antibiotics, he said.
The operation was planned in preparation for Sharon's transfer to a long-term care facility at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
The decision to replace the skull section was made in accordance with standard medical procedure. "It's his. We have to give it back at some point. We have to reattach the skull," Krumer said.
Replacing the section will reduce the risk of infection.
On Sunday, the cabinet is expected to declare Sharon "permanently incapacitated." Under the law, there is a 100-day limit to the time he can be considered "temporary incapacitated," the designation assigned him by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz after the stroke.
The cabinet decision, due to go into effect April 14, would bump Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to prime minister. Olmert's powers would remain the same.
Only two weeks ago, Hadassah denied a Channel 10 report that Sharon would be transferred to a long-term nursing and rehabilitation facility after the election.
"Nothing has been decided so far as to when he would be moved or where he would be moved," said spokeswoman Yael-Bossem Levy.