Italian judges can decide end of life care for those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

by Roberta Lunghini - 2016.12.06
Italian judges can decide end of life care for those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Whatsapp
  • Print

Upon patient request, in Italy, a judge can force healthcare professionals to interrupt life-sustaining therapy to individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Should the patient be unable to communicate his/her wishes, the patient’s caretaker (with power of attorney) will be able to make the decision in his/her place. This is what the Court of Cagliari, Italy, pronounced for a man who was kept alive on an artificial respirator, on the condition that he be given sufficient sedation to avoid pain. The patient, who had been completely dependent on machines, demanded the right to refuse treatment. The court’s decree speaks to the inviolable right of dignity for each human being; which requires the consent of each individual for any therapy, and which allows for the denial of any therapy, even if such denial could cause harm or could put the individual’s life at risk. The refusal of medical-surgical therapies, therefore, should not be confused with euthanasia, even if such refusal causes death. Euthanasia, on the other hand, is defined as a behavior that intentionally shortens one’s life by bringing about a certain death. The choice of this patient, however, involved letting the pathology take its natural course.

Published in ALS, Euthanasia.
  • My Voice gives individuals with ALS their voice back

    “Losing one’s voice forever is traumatic. The other day, my 11-year-old daughter asked me if the metallic voice of the PC was my real voice. After which, I was overcome with sadness”. This is how Julius, with ALS since 2007, described the scene. He is no longer able to speak Read More.

  • A book about ALS written batting eyelids 150,000 times

    'Abécédaire d’un Charcot' (alphabet of a Charcot) is the extraordinary book written by Damien Perrier. French physicist, 42 years old, and since 2009, bed-ridden with ALS, also known as illness of Charcot. "Everyday, I receive mesages from others with my situation. They ask me everything, from information about my medical treatment Read More.

  • Music festival with singers who have ALS competes with Sanremo

    San Foca, Melendugno (LE), is a sea town in Italy where a song festival was launched as an amusing parody of Festival of Sanremo, called Festival of San Foca. Protagonists with ALS and other pathologies are included in the program Everyone at the Sea! This is the pilot project called Read More.

  • A special sunday dedicated to people with ALS

    It is estimated that in Italy, people with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) are around 5/6 thousand. A figure which at global level reaches 420 thousand and is expected to grow by around 32% by 2040, especially among women. To this neurodegenerative disease associated with progressive impairment of voluntary muscles, it Read More.

  • How many people live with ALS worldwide

    It is estimated that over 420,000 of the world’s population are living with ALS/MND. And about 6,000 of them are from Italy. Every year the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations celebrates 21 June as the global day of recognition of ALS/MND – a disease that affects people in every country Read More.

  • Two paralyzed control a computer with thought

    Two paralyzed people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), were able to move a cursor on a computer screen with the power of thought. The extraordinary result was possible thanks to electrodes implanted in their motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls movement and that are able to decode Read More.