Eluana Englaro Will Face Total Starvation Death, Italy Government Races to Help

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Eluana Englaro Will Face Total Starvation Death, Italy Government Races to Help

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 8
, 2009

Rome, Italy (LifeNews.com) — Eluana Englaro, the disabled woman who faces a potential starvation and dehydration-based euthanasia death in the same way as Terri Schiavo, has now been partially deprived of nutrition for three days. The staff at a medical center where she was recently transferred began depriving her of food and water Friday.

Englaro’s neurologist, Carlo Alberto Defanti, said on Sunday that she is in "stable" condition and that the minimal amount of food and water Englaro currently receives will soon be revoked entirely.

Meanwhile, some members of the Italian government are working overtime to try to get an emergency order approved that would save her life.

As LifeNews.com previously reported, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had hoped to get an emergency decree approved to save Englaro’s life. With support from the Catholic Church, Berlusconi and the cabinet approved an order on Friday saying food and water can’t be suspended from patients like Englaro who are not self-sufficient.

However, President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign the order because he said it would overturn the decision of the court that allowed Englaro’s father legal permission to remove her feeding tube and take her life.

Now, Berlusconi is hoping to convene a special session of the Italian Parliament, where Berlusconi has a large majority of support, to approve the decree early this coming week and save Englaro’s life before the deprivation of food and water causes her major medical problems.

“I still believe that saving Eluana is possible,” Maurizio Sacconi, Berlusconi’s health minister, told Corriere della Sera newspaper on Saturday.

Berlusconi has said he doesn’t want to allow the “killing” of Englaro and said what is being done to her amounts to euthanasia, which is illegal in Italy.

The Vatican is strongly supporting Englaro’s right to live and trying to persuade top government officials to help her.

According to a Reuters report, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, spoke with Napolitano by phone to persuade him to rethink his opposition to the emergency order.

On Sunday, in another effort to save Englaro, Italy’s health minister said Englaro never should have been transferred to the new clinic that is taking her life. Sacconi said the "La Quiete" clinic in Udine isn’t the hospice or hospital facility approved by the Milan appeals court that issued the original ruling supporting Englaro’s father.

"The Milan appeals court spoke of a hospice or a sanitary structure, while here all we have are rooms on loan," Sacconi said, according to AP. "It’s an irregular situation."

Sacconi has sent investigators to the clinic to make sure it is following proper protocols and national laws. They reportedly found some irregularities that government officials may be able to use to remove Englaro and take her to a clinic that will not continue the deprivation of food and water.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke out over the weekend on Englaro’s behalf.

"Let us pray for all the sick, especially those most seriously ill, who cannot in any way provide for themselves, but are totally dependent on the care of others," Benedict said Sunday. "Let each of them experience, in the care of those who are near them, the power of God’s love and the wealth of his saving grace."

Beppino Englaro, the disabled patient’s father, has condemned the involvement of the Catholic Church saying it has "nothing to do with this case."

"The church can say what it likes, I won’t argue with that, but these events are beyond its control," he told Spain’s El Pais daily newspaper.

In March 2005, Terri Schiavo saw her feeding tube removed following a court order her former husband Michael Schiavo won. After a painful 13 days, Terri died.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.