A court in Rome has said it cannot rule on the fate of a terminally ill Italian man who is asking to be taken off life support so he can die. Sixty-year old Piergiorgio Welby who suffers from advanced muscular dystrophy is lucid but has been confined to a bed and kept alive with a respirator since 1997.
He has become a well-known figure in Italy after appearing on news programmes and writing to Italy’s president and newspapers asking to be allowed to “find peace for my tortured and shattered body”. Euthanasia is against the law in Italy. But Welby’s lawyers argue that the act of keeping him alive against his will is illegal.