Even after the death of Italian coma victim Eluana Englaro, the political furore continues. The 38-year-old passed away on Monday evening, four days after doctors stopped feeding her through a tube. She had been in a vegetative state since a car crash in 2002.
There was a moment of silence in the Italian Senate, which was debating a law to force doctors to resume nutrition. But it quickly descended into shouting and cat-calls. “Eluana didn’t die: she has been murdered,” a centre-right Senator from Berlusconi’s party shouted. “We say it clearly, we don’t accept it.” The opposition in its turn, accused the government of trying to make capital of the case. A democratic party senator said: “The extraordinary, cynical exploitation of this situation by President Berlusconi first and foremost comes at the saddest moment.” Eluana’s father who had battled through the courts to allow his daughter to die, in the end said, he just wanted to be left alone. On the streets, there was sympathy. “I think that after 17 years, the parents had the right to give her a funeral before dying themselves.” There have been daily protests between those who favoured and those against letting her die. And the controversy will continue for some time, with calls for an autopsy and a judicial investigation. Eluana was expected to live longer after the feeding stopped.