November 14, 2008

Italy's Terri Schiavo case

The Corte di Cassazione, Italy's top appeals court, removed today the last legal obstacle in a landmark “right-to-die” case which has fiercely divided opinion in Italy, by authorizing the father of 37-year-old Eluana Englaro to remove the feeding tube which has kept his comatose daughter alive for nearly seventeen years.

The Englaro case has been compared to that of Terri Schiavo, the American woman who spent 15 years in a vegetative state and was allowed to die in March 2006 against the wishes of her parents after a long court battle.

In fact, Terri Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, told he strongly disagrees with the court. “Today’s ruling,” he said, “will clear the way for Eluana to experience a barbaric and inhumane death by starvation and dehydration.” He is also worried that the kind of “bioethics” that prompted courts in the United States to allow his sister’s former husband to kill her is making its way across the globe. “This court’s ruling seems to indicate that American ‘medical ethics’ are spreading like a virus among the international community, threatening countless numbers of elderly, ailing and disabled persons in an increasing and alarming way,” Schindler noted.

Perhaps Schindler undervalues the high “progressive” standards achieved in some European countries. Nevertheless I think he is basically right.


  1. I heard this on the radio a while ago. Aren't the doctors against killing her?

  2. They can appeal to conscentious objection, but there is the sentence by the Corte di Cassazione ...