A court in Rome is hearing the case of a man with degenerative muscular dystrophy, who wants to be allowed to die. Piergiorgio Welby can not walk, talk or feed himself. He can only move his eyes. He is asking for the machines that keep him alive to be unplugged.
Welby’s lawyers argue this does not constitute euthanasia, which is illegal in Italy, but rather an end to his artificial life support.
The Italian media says prosecutors think the case has merit, but believe doctors have the last word. In other words, they believe doctors can not be forbidden from reattaching the respirator if Welby begins to suffer.
Welby has also asked for sedatives to make his last hours comfortable. The Vatican is maintaining its stance that euthanasia is murder but prolonging suffering is cruel.
MPs, mainly from the leftist ruling coalition, are calling for laws clarifying the use of artificial life support.