At the final press briefing at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Shlomo Mor-Yosef termed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's medical condition "serious, stable and critical."
I confess I am not a health reporter, and I do not know how a patient can be in serious, stable and critical condition all at once. I need that explained to me, so that I can explain it to my readers. None of the dozens upon dozens of local and foreign journalists present at Mor-Yosef's press briefing challenged him, and I admit neither did I, because I felt that if nobody else was asking, surely it must be a stupid question. Maybe that's how the others felt too.
Perhaps it is the Middle East's penchant for violent confrontation between Arabs and Jews, Sunnis and Shi'ites, terrorists and counterterrorists that leads to the vast number of military reporters, both local and international, who ply their trade in this region.
Perhaps if the Middle East were an oasis of scientific and medical research, with new medical breakthroughs hitting the news headlines as often as they do in such places as Boston and Bern, we would have many more science and health reporters stationed here. And maybe our local journalists would be drafted from the science academies instead of Army Radio.
Perhaps these enlightened men and women would then be able to ask some of the important medical and ethical questions that were not raised on Saturday as the world's media once again descended on Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem.
Instead, many of the chain-smoking, hamburger-guzzling, pizza-eating, coffee-drinking journalists spent the 55 minutes between top-of-the-hour updates asking the following questions: Where can we get hamburgers and fries on Shabbat in Jerusalem? Why is there not one vending machine in the entire hospital complex that does not sell cigarettes? How am I going to make sure that I get paid overtime for working on Shabbat? And when do you think we're going to see some real action between Hamas and the IDF?
These are just a small selection of questions asked by some of the journalists, instead of the following questions: Why, if Sharon is getting the best possible medical care Israel has to offer (as Hadassah and Sharon's aides repeatedly assure us), did his medical team not calculate that an immobile, 77-year-old overweight comatose patient might develop a blood-flow problem in his abdomen?
Did the blood clot come from the feeding tube inserted into his abdomen, or did it come from somewhere else in his body?
If it did come from somewhere else, then why did his doctors not resume giving Sharon a small amount of anticoagulants after stabilizing his brain hemorrhage?
Does the fact that doctors had to remove 50 centimeters of Sharon's intestines (due to gangrene infection?) indicate that perhaps this latest medical development was caught at a somewhat late stage?
And finally, after 39 days in a coma and after seven operations: what is Sharon's actual, up-to-date condition?