Court Upholds Food and Water for Eluana Englaro, Italian Terri Schiavo

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 8, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Court Upholds Food and Water for Eluana Englaro, Italian Terri Schiavo Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 8,

Milan, Italy ( — An Italian court has denied a request by a disabled woman’s father to remove her feeding tube and authorize her death by starvation and dehydration. Eluana Englaro has been a coma for 15 years after an automobile accident seriously injured her and, this year, her father asked a Milan court for permission to remove her feeding tube.

This isn’t the first time Englaro’s case had been in court.

In April 2005, the Italian Supreme Court confirmed a lower court ruling to keep her feeding tube in place.

That case had also been brought by Englaro’s father, who believes that she would have preferred to die. The court rejected the argument because there was no specific evidence on Englaro’s views of life and death.

In addition, the court’s opinion stated that to remove the tube required, "valuations of life and death that are rooted in concepts of an ethical or religious nature, which are extrajudicial."

The Italian case has drawn comparisons to that of Terri Schiavo, the disabled American woman whose ex-husband won permission from the court to take her life.

It also hearkens to Piergiorgio Welby, a euthanasia activist afflicted with muscular-dystrophy who had a doctor kill him in a euthanasia bid that is still under investigation.