Arafat poisoning theory 'ruled out'

Doctors who treated Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat believe he died of a blood condition called disseminated intra-vascular coagulation and have ruled out poisoning.

    Arafat never recovered from a coma he fell into on November 3

    Quoting "very good sources", France's Le Monde newspaper said on Wednesday that

     it was internal

    lesions associated with

    disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) which led to the sudden deterioration of

    Arafat's condition four days after his arrival at a Paris military

    hospital on 29 October.

    On 3 November the Palestinian leader fell into a coma from which

    he never recovered.

    Le Monde quoted doctors as saying that DIC is a condition rather

    than a disease, and can be set off in a person of Arafat's

    age - 75 - by either an infection or a cancer.

    However, they had

    found no indication of either.

    "We also worked on the question of poisoning, using

    sophisticated techniques, before concluding with a negative," it

    quoted a doctor as saying.

    Internal lesions

    Le Monde said:

    "DIC is the complete disruption of the mechanisms which

    normally assure proper blood clotting... It can lead to major

    internal bleeding and possible death."

    French medical secrecy laws mean that the report on Arafat's

    death has been communicated only to his immediate family, resulting

    in a spate of rumours in the Arab world that he may have been

    poisoned.

    "We also worked on
    the question of poisoning, using

    sophisticated techniques, before concluding with
    a negative"

    Doctor quoted in Le Monde

    An online medical dictionary describes DIC as a condition under

    which "blood-clotting mechanisms are activated throughout the body

    instead of being localised to an area of injury.

    "Small blood clots form throughout the body, and eventually the

    blood-clotting factors are used up and not available to form clots

    at sites of real tissue injury."

    Meanwhile, the Spanish daily El Pais published an interview with

    Arafat's personal doctor, Ashraf al-Kurdi, who said that though he did

    not believe his patient was poisoned, he had considered the

    possibility.

    Arafat's doctor

    "All the other pathologies that could have set off Yasir

    Arafat's symptoms were discounted one after the other," al-Kurdi,

    a former Jordanian health minister, said.

    "If it was a poison, then it must have been strong to kill so

    quickly. I still don't believe it was that."

    Arab states are rife with rumours
    over the cause of Arafat's death

    The French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope said that if

    there had been any suspicion of poisoning, doctors treating Arafat

    would not have released his body.

    "Mr Arafat received the best possible care and all the tests

    that had to be taken were taken. If the doctors had had any doubt,

    they would have had recourse to the justice system.

    "But I note that

    the authorisation to dispose of the body was duly issued," he said.

    SOURCE: AFP


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