On January 4, 2006, the almost 78 year old prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, suffered a debilitating stroke. He has been in a minimally conscious state ever since. Technically, it's better than being brain dead or in a permanent vegetative state, but for all intents and purposes, he has been dead for eight years. He now has gone into kidney failure and other bodily systems will shut down soon. One report on TV said he has no more than four days left.
Just like eight years ago, news crews are waiting outside his hospital room. Eight years ago, when he was still prime minister and it wasn't clear whether he would recover or not, the coverage was warranted, even if it suffered from the usual problems of having to fill airtime without having any new information. Now, however, the media vigil is odd. Reporting on his condition once a day would be more than enough.
It might be horrible to say, but once Sharon dies, it will be a great relief to his family. His sons lost their father in 2006, but got stuck in the limbo of minimal consciousness with him. Now they'll be able to bury him and move on.
Ariel Sharon would turn 86 in February. That's a ripe old age for anyone, let alone someone who has been kept alive artificially for so long.
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