Doctors noted a slight improvement on Monday in the condition of former president Shimon Peres, as the 93-year-old remained in a serious but stable condition nearly a week after suffering a stroke and bleeding on the brain.
On Sunday, Sheba Medical Centre doctors decided to gradually reduce the veteran politician’s sedation while simultaneously trying to gradually wean him from his respirator.
Sources close to the senior Israeli statesman said that Peres had been able to respond to simple instructions from doctors on Sunday night, including moving both hands.
The former president was taken to hospital on Tuesday after telling his doctor that he felt weak. He had had a pacemaker implanted a week earlier.
Peres was diagnosed in July with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm. In January, he had a heart attack and then cardiac angioplasty to open a blocked artery. He was hospitalised twice more with chest pains.
Peres’ office said in a weekend statement that Pope Francis had sent wishes for a full recovery to Peres and his family. The Pope held a special prayer for Peres’ health with his old friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Argentina.
Recalling their meetings “with great fondness”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also sent wishes for “a full recovery”.
He wrote, “I have been a steadfast admirer of your exceptional stamina and energy over the years and of your ability to maintain an active life into your tenth decade,” Ban continued. “In your dedicated service to the land and people of Israel, you remain a model of visionary statesmanship.”
Current Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Saturday night visited Sheba and spent time with Peres’ family.
“He has such a presence. He’s a man who is in every place in the country and involved in every matter. I came to support the family. All of us hope that we’ll see the ninth president get better,” he said.
“There’s no greater fighter than Shimon Peres – if it depends on him, he will win,” Rivlin told reporters.
THE JERUSALEM POST, JTA, YNET