Italian woman moved to hospital where she can die


Posted on 3rd February 2009 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Date: 2/3/2009

ROME (AP) — A woman at the center of Italy’s right-to-die debate was transferred Tuesday to a hospital where she is to be allowed to die after 17 years in a vegetative state.

Eluana Englaro was moved to the northeastern city of Udine overnight, said family lawyer Vittorio Angiolini.

A small crowd of anti-euthanasia activists gathered outside the clinic in Lecco, where she had been cared for, seeking to prevent the ambulance from leaving, TV footage showed. Some were shouting “Eluana, Wake Up!”

Englaro has been in a vegetative state since a car accident in 1992, when she was 20. Her father has led a protracted court battle to disconnect her feeding tube, insisting it was her wish.

An Italian court in the summer granted his request, setting off a political storm in the Roman Catholic country.

Her father then sought to have her removed from the Catholic clinic in Lecco to Udine, in the region where the family is from. But the government issued a decree last month telling state hospitals that they must guarantee care for people in vegetative states, leading at least one hospital in Udine to refuse to take Englaro.

She was moved overnight to La Quiete, a private clinic.

Welfare Minister Maurizio Sacconi said the government is looking into the situation.

Italy does not allow euthanasia. Patients have a right to refuse treatment but there is no law that allows them to give advance directions on what treatment they wish to receive if they become unconscious.

The case has provoked the strong reaction of the Vatican, which is opposed to euthanasia. Pope Benedict XVI said this weekend that euthanasia is a “false solution” to suffering.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the pope’s health minister, told La Repubblica that removing Englaro’s feeding tube “is tantamount to an abominable assassination and the church will always say that out loud.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Italian woman in right-to-die case worsens


Posted on 12th October 2008 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Date: 10/11/2008 1:51 PM

ROME (AP) _ The condition of an Italian woman at the center of a right-to-die case worsened after she suffered a massive hemorrhage, doctors said Saturday.

Eluana Englaro has been in a vegetative state for 16 years and her father has led a protracted court battle to disconnect her feeding tube, insisting it was her wish.

This summer a Milan court granted his request, setting off a political storm in this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country. Italy does not allow euthanasia, but patients have a right to refuse treatment.

Catholic and anti-euthanasia groups protested the ruling by leaving bottles of water in front of Milan’s Duomo cathedral. Prosecutors appealed the decision and the father pledged not to disconnect the tube before Italy’s high court weighed in.

Carlo Alberto Defanti, Englaro’s doctor, told reporters gathered Saturday at a clinic in northern Italy that over the last two days Englaro had been bleeding from her uterus.

“It was a very abundant hemorrhage, which puts her life at risk,” he said. “This afternoon it stopped. We can’t make predications; if it doesn’t restart she may recover.”

Italian news reports said doctors had agreed not to give Englaro a blood transfusion.

Englaro was 20 years old when she fell into a vegetative state following a car accident in 1992. Two years later, doctors called her condition irreversible.

Her father, Beppino Englaro, has said she had visited a friend who was in a similar condition shortly before her accident and had expressed the will to refuse treatment if in the same situation.

The case has drawn comparisons here with that of Terry Schiavo, the American woman who was at the center of a right-to-die debate until her death in 2005. Schiavo’s husband, who wanted her feeding tube removed against her parents’ wishes, prevailed in a polarizing battle in the United States that reached Congress, President George W. Bush and the Supreme Court.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.