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ICG Risk Blog - [ November 19, 2004 ]

AIDS, poison, cirrhosis, medical malpractice, the rare and obscure; it matters how Arafat died

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Medical blogs became the court of last resort in order to build a legitimate understanding of Arafat's symptoms, gain implications of as to how long he might live, and ultimately understand the cause of death as certainly the French, the Palestinian authority, and Arafat's wife, Suha, were having none of it.

For example, when it was reported that Arafat had "a blood hemorrhage in the head" and was on a respirator, doctors were able to say that it was intracerebral bleeding and that he had a "very poor prognostic factor":

83% of cirrhotic patients who needed to be placed on a mechanical ventilator died within 72 hours and only about 4% survived beyond six months... Patients with a poorly functioning liver are very prone to bleeding because of their low platelet counts and low levels of clotting proteins in their blood.

Cirrhosis is now being formerly advanced as the cause of death, but if true, the cause is not yet known. Why does it matter? In part, upon whom someone places blame and attempts to punish, or upon whom, perhaps Arafat himself, one attempts to heap shame and dishonor and thereby accumulate political capital.

The contenders:

AIDS - which was my choice based upon his external symptoms and decades of whispers of Arafat's homosexual and/or bisexual activity in Russia, Tunisia, and Palestine. Suppression of this cause reduces the stigma, at least in fundamentalist circles, and the macho image of the Father of Palestine. CSI MEDBLOGS: WILL ARAFAT DIE OF AIDS? offers medical info.

Poison - "Palestinians accused the Israelis of poisoning Arafat's food even though poisoning has traditionally been a weapon of choice for those who seek to depose the government from within. I.e. other Palestinians would be the ones in the best position to do this." A members of Arafat's Fatah faction "said a bodyguard told him that the Palestinian leader had whispered to him: "This time they got me."" "Arafat's doctor, Ashraf Kurdi, told the al Jazeera satellite TV network that, "Arafat's health condition makes poisoning a strong possibility."" Rumor upon rumor with few coherent medical symptoms, but many would like to blame Israel in order to carry on the conflict.

Cirrhosis - end-stage liver failure which could also be from the embarrassment of alcoholism but also from "many other causes, including viral infections, inherited disorders and, in Northern Africa, parasites." Physicians are pro and con on alcohol based on limited data. A non-alcohol cause gets everyone off the hook.

French malpractice - "Arafat may have been oversedated in a French hospital prior to getting a diagnostic procedure. This caused him to go into cardiac arrest for which the French were ill prepared (just like WWII) and this caused anoxic brain damage that put him in a coma and on the verge of death." Great version here:

YASSER DRINKS CONTAMINATED WATER---->VIRAL HEPATITIS----->SUBACUTE FLU-LIKE ILLNESS----->ELEVATED WBC'S/LOSS OF APPETITE----->LOW PLATELETS A SECONDARY PHENOMENON----->EGYPTIAN MD'S PANIC AND DX LEUKEMIA SEND HIM TO FRANCE---->FRENCH DOCTORS IN A PANIC ORDER ALL TESTS UNDER THE SUN----->DURING ONE OF THE TESTS THEY ADMINISTER TOO MUCH INTRAVENOUS SEDATIVE----->YASSER GOES INTO RESPIRATORY ARREST---->THEY DON'T HAVE THE ANTIDOTE IN THE CRASH CART (OR THEY DON'T HAVE A CRASH CART)----->BY THE TIME THEY INTUBATE HIM HE HAS SUFFERED MASSIVE HYPOXIC INJURY TO BRAIN---->HE'S ON A RESPIRATOR AND "CHEMICALLY" BEING PARALYZED UNTIL THEY CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO PRETEND THEY ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE

Needless to say, the French are not fond of this cause.

Rare and obscure - "Other causes such as Thrombocytopenic Purpura (which is very rare), hemolytic uremic syndrome with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (which affects the kidneys much more than the liver), and Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (which mostly affects women and children and is fatal in only 2% of adults) do not fit with what we know about Arafat's condition." Who knows who get the blame, if any.

Speaking to al Jazeera "only hours before Arafat was due to be buried, Arafat's personal physician called for "an official inquiry and an autopsy ... so the Palestinian people can learn in all transparency what caused the death" of their leader." I do not see Arafat being exhumed any time soon.

I wonder how many security services were trying to secure medical waste from Percy Hospital for analysis.

CodeBlueBlog

RangelMD.com

Gordon Housworth



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