Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Death Ends Coma Case That Set Off Furor in Italy

Over the past few days, Italy was the stage of a private tragedy that became a topic of public debate, constitutional battles, and political shame. A woman, who was about my same age, had been in a persistent vegetative state since a car accident in 1992. After 17 years, she eventually died yesterday with the assistance of a physician.

About a month ago, a British philosopher wrote an op-ed. Here is an excerpt:

The law must be changed so that people facing fatal or self-destroying conditions do not also have to endure this agony of not being able to protect their selves and their loved ones ... Patients need to be enabled to state their preferences, the circumstances under which they want to be killed ... It is not rocket science. It is obscenely overdue.

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