Here’s an update on the romantically involved doctor and nurse accused of killing at least five patients and possibly dozens more between 2011 and 2014 in a hospital near Milan. Previously BioEdge reported that “The police are not treating the deaths as euthanasia, or mercy killing, but as homicides.”
We spoke too soon. While this may be the position of the police, it appears that Leonardo Cazzaniga, the doctor who has been arrested, is spinning a different story.
“Everything I did I did to alleviate the suffering of patients. It is not true that I wanted to kill them,” he told the magistrate.
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However, the Italian media has reported that he often said “I am like God; I am the Angel of Death,” which tends to undermine this line of defense.
Police wiretapped the couple’s phones and presented excerpts from disturbing conversations. At one stage Taroni told Cazzaniga she could kill her son and her eight-year-old daughter. “Every now and again I have this urge to kill someone – I need to,” Taroni allegedly told Cazzaniga. According to one of Cazzaniga’s colleagues, he frequently referred to himself as an “angel of death”. It appears that he also used cocaine.
Also relevant to potential euthanasia laws, it appears that colleagues and hospital administrators may have turned a blind eye to the deaths. One doctor allegedly blackmailed the hospital into hiring her in exchange for keeping quiet about the murders. She may have also helped Ms Taroni falsify her husband’s tests for diabetes.
Doctors and nurses are the most trusted professionals, according to a UK poll earlier this year, just ahead of hairdressers and teachers, but absolutely thrashing politicians, real estate agents and journalists. This may account for the confidence with which supporters of euthanasia and assisted suicide entrust them with the lives of the elderly and terminally ill.