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September 28, 2016 7:03 pm

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres ‘Fought Until His Last Drop of Blood,’ Doctors Say

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The late former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Photo: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

The late former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Photo: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

During the two weeks he was in the hospital before he died on Wednesday at the age of 93, former Israeli President Shimon Peres “fought until his last drop of blood,” his doctors told the Hebrew news site Walla.

Peres arrived at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in mid-September after suffering a major stroke.

“When he got to the hospital, he complained of feeling weak, and his neurological situation quickly began to deteriorate,” Dr. Shlomi Matetzky — a cardiologist — was quoted by Walla as saying.

However, Matetzky went on to say that for most of the time Peres was hospitalized, his doctors believed that he could survive and at least partially recover.

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“We always felt we were dealing with an unusual man,” Matetzky said. “He was active in a way not normal for someone of his age. This gave us optimism that he would pull through.”

Dr. Zeev Feldman — a neurosurgeon — told Walla that this optimism gradually waned over the course of Peres’ hospitalization. “An edema developed and began to press on his brain stem and this is when we understood that the damage was irreversible.”

Feldman said Peres’ body systems collapsed during the final day before his death.

“Medically, we can’t solve everything,” Feldman said. “In situations like his was, there is a 50% mortality rate. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done.”

The final deterioration in Peres’ condition began on Saturday evening, the Walla report said. By Tuesday morning, he was no longer responding to doctors’ commands.

Throughout his hospitalization, Peres was not provided life-extending treatments, the report noted, due to an explicit order he had given to his family members and doctors to not prolong his life if he would not be able to recover to a functional level.

Peres, who served as Israel’s president from 2007-2014, was also twice prime minister — for two years in the mid-1980s and for less than one year in the mid-1990s. As a young man, Peres was a protégé of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.

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  • UR

    “Throughout his hospitalization, Peres was not provided life-extending treatments … due to an explicit order… to not prolong his life if he would not be able to recover to a functional level.” This really upsets me: it is not knowable whether he could’ve recovered to a functional level, as the doctors note. So why wasn’t he given the treatments? Until reading this, I’d deduced that his vital functions crashed while receiving the treatments but now I discover not. Peres was a man who defied all biological statistics and was, in my lay opinion, a perfect candidate for treatments even if there’s only a slim chance of recovery. He didn’t specify which degree of chance was required, as far as I can tell from the above. It really upsets me that his treatment was based on expectations of average people of his age. He was not at all average, as the doctors noted. So why not the life-extending treatments? I understand if such interventions presented a high risk or entailed needless suffering but that is not the reason now given.

  • Reb_Yaakov

    Dealing with illness should not be described in militaristic terms, such as “fighting,” “battling,” and “beating.” This is a secular, non-Jewish, negative way of approaching disease.

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