Colostomy can prevent further abdominal surgery for Sharon

During Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's three-hour emergency operation to remove a third of his large intestine on Saturday, a stoma was inserted into his abdominal wall so that the condition of his colon could be followed without necessarily having to perform further surgery. A colostomy procedure was carried out which involves the attachment of the cut end of the remaining colon to an opening (stoma) in the abdominal wall, allowing feces to emerge through it and into a bag instead of the normal process. It can be reversed if, and when, there is no further necrosis of the colon, which forced the urgent operation, Hadassah Medical Organization sources said on Sunday. Contrary to reports in the Hebrew newspapers, his intestinal surgery does not automatically require another operation in a few days. If blood supply to the remaining large intestine remains good and more tissue does not become gangrenous, he will not have to have more surgery. Hadassah sources said that the necrosis resulted not from a blood clot in a branch of the supreme mesenteric artery to his colon, but merely from reduced blood flow, which happens quite often in long-term comatose patients. Sharon remains in very serious but stable condition and not in immediate danger in the ground floor intensive care unit of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem. He will continue to receive his nutrition intravenously until he is well enough for the food tube to his stomach to be restored. The spokeswoman for Hadassah Medical Organization declined to comment on an anonymous quote in Haaretz on Sunday in which a "senior Hadassah doctor" claimed that if Sharon had "not been prime minister," the emergency operation would not have been performed and he would be allowed to die. Sharon is being watched round-the-clock by chief anesthesiologist Prof. Charles Weissman, and anesthesiologist Dr. Yoram Weiss, along with a team of nurses. The move from the seventh-floor neurosurgery intensive care unit, where he has been treated for nearly six weeks since his massive hemorrhagic stroke on January 4, to the ground floor intensive care unit was complicated by security logistics. Staffers on the seventh floor said they were "sad to see him go," but some family members were relieved because the high security there made access more difficult. Consultations were due to be held this week about the possibility of several long-term nursing and rehabilitation facilities where he could have been transferred, but due to his setback, they have been postponed.