Arafat died of clotting disorder, says Le Monde

17th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - Doctors who treated Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat believe he died of a blood clotting disorder and ruled out poisoning, France's respected Le Monde newspaper reported Wednesday.

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - Doctors who treated Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat believe he died of a blood clotting disorder and ruled out poisoning, France's respected Le Monde newspaper reported Wednesday.

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.

The uncertainty led Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qorei to announce a special committee Wednesday to probe the cause of the late leader's death, and a delegation was reported to be preparing to leave Ramallah for Paris to ask the French government to hand over Arafat's medical file.

Le Monde, quoting "very good sources," said doctors believe that he died of a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

It described the condition as "the complete disruption of the mechanisms which normally assure proper blood clotting ... It can lead to major internal bleeding and possible death."

Le Monde said it was internal lesions associated with DIC which led to the sudden deterioration of Arafat's condition four days after his arrival at a Paris military hospital on October 29.

He lapsed into a coma on November 3 from which he never surfaced, and was declared dead early on November 11.

Le Monde quoted doctors as saying DIC is a condition rather than an actual disease, and can be set off in a person of Arafat's age - he was 75 - by either an infection or a cancer.

However, they had found no indication of either in this case.

"We also worked on the question of poisoning, using sophisticated techniques, before concluding with a negative," it quoted a doctor as saying.

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 a statement from Qorei's office said the committee he set up "was asked to make contact with all individuals and parties who can contribute towards clarifying the ambiguity that has surrounded the death of President Arafat and also in view of the surfeit of questions that have been raised by the Palestinian public."

There was no indication when the delegation would leave.

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.

Separately, the Spanish daily El Pais published an interview with Arafat's personal doctor, Ashraf el-Kurdi, who said that though he did not believe his patient was poisoned, he had considered the possibility.

"All the other pathologies that could have set off Yasser Arafat's symptoms were discounted one after the other," el-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."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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