A 43-year-old man with quadriplegia, after a decade immobilized in bed, has become the first patient to receive authorization to undergo medically assisted suicide in Italy. A Constitutional Court ruling recognized that right in 2019.
“The Ethics Committee (of the public health service) found that the man is within the conditions established by the Council to access assisted suicide, for the first time in Italy,” announced this Tuesday the Luca Coscioni Association, which has been for years fighting for the introduction of a law regulating euthanasia in Italy.RELATED
“Mario” —a fictitious name to keep the identity of the patient hidden— had asked the hospital in the Marche region, where they have been monitoring him, for more than a year “to verify his health conditions to access, legally in Italy, to a lethal drug to end their suffering “. The times coincide with the term foreseen by the Constitutional ruling.
After the first refusal of the regional service of Las Marcas (ASUR), a mediation award and the final decision of the Ancona Court, in addition to two legal warnings to the ASUR, Mario finally obtained the favorable opinion of the Ethics Committee, after A group of specialist doctors will confirm that you have the right to legal access to assisted suicide. “I feel lighter, I have freed myself from all the tension accumulated in recent years,” said Mario upon learning of the decision, as reported in a statement by the Coscioni association, which has accompanied him throughout the necessary legal journey to achieve his wish.
Filomena Gallo, Mario’s co-defender and secretary of the organization, was happy about the decision, although she considers it “very serious that it took so long.” Now “we will provide, in collaboration with an expert, the details of the methods of self-administration of the drug suitable for Mario, depending on his conditions. The ruling of the Constitutional Court establishes that the public structure of the National Health Service is only responsible for verification of the modalities before the competent territorial ethics committee ”, he explained.
Public Health “hides behind the absence of a law that defines the procedures” as a result of the “paralysis of Parliament, which three years after the request of the Constitutional Court, is still unable to approve it,” said Mario Cappato, for his part. treasurer of the Association. “The result of this institutional irresponsibility is that people like Mario are forced to endure even a judicial ordeal, in addition to the physical and psychological suffering caused by their condition,” he added.
Although “it is possible that the decision of the Ethics Committee will soon allow Mario to achieve what he has been asking for for 14 months, to have clear rules that go beyond the question of suicide aid and regulate euthanasia in a broader sense, the intervention of the Italian people will be necessary, with the referendum that partially decriminalizes the crime of consensual murder “.
Last month, Gallo and Cappato submitted to the Supreme Court a petition signed by 1.2 million people calling for a referendum on euthanasia.