Euthanasia in Italy

There’s a report from Italy about a young woman being taken off of “life support” after 16 years. At first, one would think it was cruel to keep someone from a natural death. However, when you look further it becomes evident that the young woman in question, Eluana Englaro, is not on life-support at all! She’s actually in a coma and the “life support” that they are writing about is “food & water”. Now, it is true that this “food & water” is being delivered through a feeding tube. Some would question whether that constitutes extraordinary means. However, the Holy See is cautioning people in this area. Society and Medicine is moving too quickly and removing hydration and nutrition… not so much for the good of the person, but rather for the comfort of the family and medical staff, or far worse… to save money!  I am by no means a “vitalist”. In other words it’s not always about prolonging life. Sometimes it’s ok to embrace death. However, I am growing very concerned about the move to actually cause death. Starving someone, regardless of how much in a coma, just doesn’t seem right.  Read the story below..

From CathNews of Australia: In a decision described by a Catholic politician as the “first state homicide”, Italy’s highest court has authorised doctors to switch off the life support system for Eluana Englaro who has been in a coma for 16 years.

ANSA reports the Cassation Court confirmed a lower court ruling that, for the first time in Italy, authorised doctors to switch off Englaro’s life support system.

The court rejected an appeal from Milan prosecutors, saying it was “inadmissible” because the case did not concern the general interest, as the prosecutors argued, but individual rights.

The judicial landmark was hailed by the woman’s father, Giuseppe Englaro, who has been fighting for ten years against Catholic officials and politicians who follow the Vatican’s line that removing life support is euthanasia.

“(This) is confirmation that we live in a country ruled by the state of law,” Englaro said. Eluana’s lawyer Franca Alessio called the sentence “perfect” and said she did not see problems in finding a clinic where her charge could be allowed to die.

The neurologist who has been treating Eluana, said procedures to take her off the machine could start “in a few days” in one of three facilities in the north of Italy which have already said they were willing to end her life.

Catholic politicians were quick to condemn the ruling and promised a law that would reverse it.

Isabella Bertolini of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party accused the Cassation Court of “signing Eluana Englaro’s death warrant and opening a deep wound in the country which will be hard to heal.”

“This sentence affirms a culture of death that we reject with force and indignation,” she said, adding that the ruling set “a dangerous precedent for thousands of terminally ill patients.”

Luca Volonte of the centrist Catholic UDC party said “the Cassation Court has authorised the first state homicide.”

Guiseppe Englaro has appeared on TV frequently in the last decade, asking officials to free his daughter from what he says is “the inhumane and degrading condition in which she is forced to exist.”

He argued that Eluana, who was left brain dead in a car crash in her Lombardy hometown of Lecco in 1992 when she was 19, said plainly during her life that she would not wish to live in a vegetative state.

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