Former Israeli President Shimon Peres' Medical Condition Deteriorates After Major Stroke

After two weeks in hospital, Israel's elder statesman Shimon Peres' condition seems irreversible. 'These are his last hours,' relatives say.

President Shimon Peres adressing members of the Foreign Press Association during a visit in Sderot, Israel, July 06, 2014.
AFP

Former President Shimon Peres' condition deteriorated significantly early on Wednesday morning, two weeks after he suffered a major stroke.

The Reuters news agency reported of Peres' death on Wednesday morning, but this has not been officially confirmed. According to reports, a statement on Peres' condition will be issued at 7 A.M. 

On Tuesday, Peres' doctors at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer said his condition deteriorated, and his family was called to his bedside. 

Doctors have described his condition as very serious from the start, but the lack of recovery from brain damage constitutes a clinical deterioration. As the days have passed, particularly the past few days, the feeling has increased that time is running out for Peres.

After an examination on Monday found irreversible damage to his brainstem, it became clear that his condition will not improve. His relatives have been saying their goodbyes on Tuesday. "These are his last hours," his relatives believe.

Over a seven-decade career, Peres held virtually every senior political office in Israel, including three terms as prime minister and stints as foreign and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Shimon Peres' Quixotic Battle for Israeli-Palestinian Peace | Shimon Peres, Outsider Who Wanted So Much to Be Loved

Doctors were cautiously optimistic about his condition when he was initially hospitalized two weeks ago, after Peres showed signs that he had not lost his cognitive and motor capabilities following his stroke. However, doctors now believe his condition is irreversible, and that his bodily systems will soon fail. 

Peres had a massive stroke while in hospital for a checkup. He was hospitalized and an initial scan showed that a blood clot which had caused a brain hemorrhage. A second scan revealed massive bleeding which could cause irreversible damage. Later that night, the chief neurologist for the hospital's stroke unit, Prof. David Orion, said that the bleeding had stopped. Prof. Orion said that the damage was to the right hemisphere, and thus to the left part of his body.

At the end of last January, Peres was hospitalized with a slightly irregular heartbeat. Ten days prior to that, he had a cardiac event which was described as a light heart attack. He subsequently underwent a successful catheterization and has had a pacemaker installed.

A stroke is a medical condition in which there is an interruption of blood flow to a certain part of the brain. The causes can be a hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can block blood vessels, a clot, or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain which can cause intracranial bleeding.