Ariel Sharon out of intensive care

Updated: 2006-11-06 18:41

JERUSALEM - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was taken out of intensive care Monday morning, four days after he was admitted for a dangerous infection, the Chaim Sheba Medical Center announced.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spreaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office, Sunday, July 17, 2005. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was taken Friday to an intensive care unit after his overall condition and heart function deteriorated, a spokesman for the hospital said Friday Nov. 3, 2006. [AP]

Sharon, comatose since suffering a stroke in January, had been moved to intensive care on Thursday when the infection attacked his heart.

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The hospital said Monday that doctors treated the infection and transferred Sharon back to the respiratory ward, where he has been hospitalized since being moved to Sheba from a Jerusalem hospital in May.

Sharon had a small stroke in December and was put on blood thinners before experiencing a severe brain hemorrhage on January 4 and falling into a coma.

Sharon, 78, has undergone several extensive brain operations to stop cerebral hemorrhaging, in addition to several minor procedures. He was rushed to intensive care in July for dialysis after his kidneys began failing, but was transferred back to Sheba after his condition improved.

Experts have speculated that because of the severity of his stroke, Sharon, Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006, is unlikely to regain consciousness.

Sharon's stroke came just months after he ended Israel's 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip and bolted his hard-line Likud Party to form the centrist Kadima faction. After the stroke, Sharon's successor, Ehud Olmert, led Kadima to victory in a March 28 vote and became prime minister.

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