Daily Archives: August 31, 2011

End-of-life law in Italy…

Polls show that at least 70% of Italians would like to be able to choose their own medical treatments and make their own end-of-life decisions. Many have expressed their wishes in “living wills.”

In spite of this, in mid July Italy’s ultra conservative government came up with and managed to pass through parliament an absolutely appalling, so-called “end of life” law, which effectively—once it receives final approval by the Senate this fall—will give doctors the supreme power of deciding what is best for those patients who, for whatever reason, are unable to speak up for themselves. From now on, doctors can simply ignore the wishes that their patients might have expressed in “living wills” and can have them force-fed and hydrated. And the patients’ family and/or appointed tutors can have no say in the matter…

Our fate, should we become somehow incapacitated, will soon lie in the hands of our doctors…

(You can imagine what I think of THAT…!)

I wanted to point out that at least one member of Mr. Berlusconi’s government is opposed to this new, atrocious law: Giancarlo Galan, the Italian Minister of Culture. During an interview (see “La Repubblica,” July 14), he declared that the new end-of-life law is unjust and wrong and it takes away freedom while adding nothing. He believes that we should be allowed to choose how to end our life, how to spend our last few days…

(No kidding.)

Now, I would like to point out that the Italian Constitution states the following: Nobody may be forcibly subjected to medical treatment except as regulated by law.  That law may in no case violate the limits imposed by the respect for the human being. (Article 32.) Well, I’d say that force-feeding and hydrating are clear and violent violations of this article…Therefore, this new end-of-life law seems to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL…

But nobody is talking about this issue right now…just a few “living will” supporters.

I suppose most people think that bad things only happen to others…after all, that’s what I used to think, too…before my cancer diagnosis…(more on this tomorrow…)