Italy is in the midst of its own Terri Schiavo controversy. Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has intervened to prevent doctors from carrying out the wishes of Eluana Englaro and her family to discontinued life support. Englaro has been in a coma for 17 years after a car crash in 1992. Berlusconi consulted with the Vatican and declared: “This is murder. I would be failing to rescue her. I’m not a Pontius Pilate.” The prime minister added that one of the things that persuaded him is that she was “in the condition to have babies.”
Her father Beppino has stressed that the doctors were trying to carry out his daughter clearly stated wishes. The case has now divided the country, which With politicians intervening on both sides, much like our circus over the Schiavo matter. For a prior column, click here. Berlusconi has allied himself with the demands of the Vatican, stating “We have to stop this crime against humanity.”
For the full story, click here.
6 thoughts on “Schiavo Mediterranean Style: Italy Halts Effort to Terminate Woman in Vegetative State”
Eluana Englaro died February 9th; I wish her family peace and love.
I don’t understand the Vatican’s position in this case as the Catholic tradition has been the patient or proxy has the right to make the final decision regarding refusal/withdrawal of health care.
I think those who wonder whether a brain-dead person is “alive” enough to warrant pumping nutrients into their inactive tissue should perform the following experiment:
(I had to do this for biology lab in college and it really taught me the meaning of “life”)
Remove the heart of a frog. Place the heart in a liquid sugar solution. It will continue to beat forever (I watched it for 2 hours and it didn’t even slow down) so long as it has sugar. The heart will use the sugar to sustain itself.
Every other tissue of the body operates the same way. Once you don’t have a brain, and thus can’t experience the world, your tissues are just another mass of cells.
At least the Italian government admits something to the effect of, “We recognize that these tissues are no more significant than a frog’s excised heart, but our religion tells us that the only moral action is to provide sugar forever and watch it beat.”
the wishes of the family and patient are the only thing that matters.
The Schiavo case was in my mind a little less clear, there was no living will and the parents were willing to take care of her. Although different in both cases the state is/was interfering in a private matter.
The right to die is a fundamental right that the state has no business being involved with.
Well at least the prime minister is clear that he feels that a womans most important function is to be ‘in the condition to have babies’. Presumably if she was sterile he, and the vatican, would retract their objections.
So Silvio Berlusconi doesn’t want to be Pontius Pilate? What part of stupid analogy doesn’t this man get? This is a bloated right wing media baron from the Murdoch School of bad journalism, who has managed through no merit of his own to get himself elected again. His policies benefit those in his social class and little else. The Romans were effective, cultureless thugs who produced the ancient equivalent of having “the trains run on time.” Yet in the Renaissance the brilliance of Italian culture flourished and has benefited us all. Italy is a land of great culture, but I think the thousands of years of bad governance has caused such cynicism among the populace that they really don’t believe it’s fixable. Given this they elect a clown like Berlusconi because they think he’s fun.
Italy, Italy, Italy. I see you’re still grappling with science all these years after not learning the lesson of Galileo.
No brain activity = dead. Um . . . period. A body is a piece of meat without a brain.
You know, for all your sanitation and civics and roads and former military might, it’s been pretty much down hill for Italy since Marcus Aureilius ran things, hasn’t it? Shall we look in brief?
The de Medici’s.
A different form of government almost EVERY YEAR since the end of WWII.
Whatever was in the Italian water that made good leaders? It has obviously been missing for some time.
So again, no brain activity = dead.
Babies don’t have squat to do with it. Technically you can do the same thing in a petri dish.
You know, being that the Italian government is also brain dead I’d wonder if they’d been taking lessons from our Senate, but that list above suggests the common sense train left the Italian Government Station long before our boys lost their minds.
Good luck, Italy. You need it.
On the plus side, don’t mess with Tuscany. Tuscany is just fine.
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