Italian Parliament Close To Allowing Assisted Suicide

Helpline: The Department of Mental Health of the Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic has an information line on depression at 809-544-4223

The Italian Parliament has taken the first step in the processing of a law that will allow “voluntary medically assisted death” of patients, a form of euthanasia that is opposed by the right and that sparks a strong debate in the country.

The bill that regulates the power of a patient to request medical assistance to die based on certain conditions was approved this Thursday by the Chamber of Deputies and the text will now go to the Senate.

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A total of 253 deputies voted in favor -those from the progressive bloc of the Democratic Party, the Five Star Movement and Free and Equal-, 117 against -the right with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Matteo Salvini’s League and Brothers of Italy- and one abstention.

Its next procedure in the Senate will be more complicated because the parties that support the text have fewer seats in that Chamber, but support is expected from the mixed group and from some wayward people on the right, who also voted “yes” yesterday.

The bill is a consequence of a 2019 Constitutional Court ruling, which stipulated that certain forms of euthanasia are not punishable, ruling on an activist prosecuted for accompanying a quadriplegic, Fabiano Antoniani, to die in Switzerland.

In the first place, the text allows a patient to end his life with a medication and under the assistance of medical personnel, who will not be legally punishable (neither doctors, nor other health or administrative personnel who have mediated in the suicide process). .

The euthanasia applicant must be of legal age, show capacity for understanding and decision, and be adequately informed.

At the clinical level, the patient must suffer from an irreversible disease and “unfortunate prognosis” that causes “absolutely intolerable physical and psychological suffering”, have undergone a palliative process and be kept alive with medical treatments whose interruption would imply his death.

As for the procedure to request assisted suicide, the patient must ask the doctor, who will write a report on their physical and psychological conditions and send it to the Health Department of the region to which they belong.

If the doctor decides to deny the patient this possibility, based on conscientious objection, he will have the possibility of resorting to justice within a period of sixty days after notification of the refusal.

Last November, a 43-year-old quadriplegic who has been immobilized in bed for 10 years became the first patient authorized to undergo medically assisted suicide in Italy, although it was not until last month and after 16 months of legal battle that the authorities The health authorities notified him of the drug that should be supplied.

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