PM to have full anesthetic during heart procedure
Sharon's authority will be assumed by Deputy PM Olmert for period of three hours during Thursday's procedure.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will have a full anesthetic when he undergoes a cardiac procedure on Thursday at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, officials at the hospital said Tuesday.
During the procedure, Sharon's authority will be assumed by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for a period of three hours.
The procedure itself is expected to last 30 minutes, but recovery from the effects of the anesthesia takes approximately two hours.
This will be the first time that the updated clause in Basic Law: Government, which spells out the legal procedure in case the prime minister is prevented from executing his duties, is put into practice.
Sharon was sedated during medical tests two weeks ago at the hospital, following a mild stroke. In consultations with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, it was determined that there was no need to name an acting prime minister at the time.
Leading cardiologists Prof. Haim Lotan, Dr. Avraham Lorber, director of Pediatric Cardiology at the Rambam Medical Center and Dr. Raphael Hirsch, director of the congenital heart disease unit at Beilinson Hospital, Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, are expected to supervise Sharon's cardiac catheterization.
Cardiologists not involved in Sharon's case said catheterization is a relatively low risk procedure. Hadassah said Monday that barring unexpected complications, Sharon would be released by Friday afternoon.
Lotan, one of Israel's leading cardiologists, was born in Hadera in 1952. He studied medicine at the Hebrew University's Hadassah Medical School and in 1986 was appointed as a lecturer there. Today he is director of the Heart Institute and chair of clinical cardiology at the medical school.
In August 2000 he performed a cardiac catheterization on MK David Levy, after the latter felt ill and was found to have a blocked artery.
Lorber heads the pediatric cardiology unit at Rambam and in recent years has tried new methods for filling holes in the heart. One of these methods will be used to fill the hole in the atrial septum of Sharon's heart.
In 2002 Lorber took part in research at the Weizmann Institute that discovered a gene and a genetic mutation that cause a hereditary heart disease that mainly affects Bedouin children.
Professor Boleslav Goldman, Sharon's personal physician, was also involved in the research.