Mario is the first patient to have obtained the green light for medically assisted suicide in Italy. He has been paralyzed from shoulders to toes for over 10 years due to an accident.
Historic turning point in Italy on assisted suicide. Mario (invented name, ed) is 43 years old, and is the first patient to have obtained the green light for medically assisted suicide in Italy. For him, life is no longer sustainable because he has been paralyzed from shoulder to foot for over 10 years due to a traffic accident in his car.
For this reason he has been asking the local hospital for over a year to check his health conditions in order to legally access a drug that allows him to die. Last summer Mario had also denounced the Single Health Authority of the Marche Region, for having violated his right to help with suicide. It was the first time that a citizen denounced the public administration for these reasons.
Now, according to the provisions of the Constitutional Court sentence no. 242/2019, which indicates the conditions of non-punishment of assisted suicide aid, and after a long process that saw first the denial of the Unica Regionale Marche (ASUR), a first and a second final decision of the Court of Ancona , two legal warnings to ASUR Marche, Mario has finally obtained the opinion of the Ethics Committee, who, following a verification of his condition through a group of medical specialists appointed by the ASUR Marche, confirmed that the quadriplegic patient meets the requirements for legal access to assisted suicide.
After reading the opinion Mario commented as follows: “I feel lighter, I have emptied myself of all the tension accumulated over the years”.
The lawyer Filomena Gallo, co-defender of Mario and secretary of the Luca Coscioni Association, explained the story: “The ethics committee has examined the report of the doctors who in recent weeks have certified the presence of the 4 conditions established by the Constitutional Court in the Capato-Dj Fabo ruling, i.e. Mario is kept alive by life-sustaining treatments; he is suffering from an irreversible disease , a source of physical or psychological suffering that he deems intolerable; is fully capable of making free and informed decisions; and that it is not his intention to use other health treatments for pain and deep sedation. It is very serious that it has taken a long time, but finally, for the first time in Italy, an ethics committee has confirmed the existence of the conditions for assisted suicide for a sick person “.
“On the recommendation of Mario – continued Gallo -, we will now proceed with the response to Asur Marche and the ethics committee, for the part concerning the methods of implementing Mario’s choice, so that the Constitutional sentence and the decision of the Court of Ancona are respected. We will provide, in collaboration with an expert, the details of the methods of self-administration of the drug suitable for Mario, based on his conditions. The sentence of the Constitutional Court places the sole task of verifying these procedures on the public structure of the national health service after obtaining the opinion of the territorially competent ethics committee “.
“After the sentence of the Constitutional Court which has in effect legalized assisted suicide, no patient has so far been able to benefit from it, as the National Health Service hides behind the absence of a law that defines the procedures – commented Marco Cappato, Treasurer of the Luca Coscioni Association -. Mario is still moving forward thanks to the courts, thus making clear the blameworthiness in progress. After moving the local health authority that refused to start the process, now it was the turn of the Ethics Committee. The definition of the euthanasia drug administration process is now missing. This tortuous path is also due to the paralysis of the Parliament, which still three years after the request of the Constitutional Court is unable to vote even a law that defines the procedures for applying the Court’s sentence. The result of this institutional blame is that people like Mario are forced to endure even a judicial ordeal, in addition to the physical and psychological one due to their condition. It is possible that the decision of the Ethics Committee will soon allow Mario to obtain what he has been asking for for 14 months. But it is certain that in order to have clear rules that go beyond the issue of assisting suicide and regulate euthanasia in a broader sense, the intervention of the Italian people will be necessary, with the referendum that partially decriminalizes the crime of murder of the consenting person “.