Italian court approves removal of life support for woman in coma
An Italian appeals court ruled Wednesday that life support can be removed from a woman who has been in a coma for 16 years and whose case has fuelled controversy over euthanasia in mostly Catholic Italy, reported dpa.
Proof had been provided of the "irreversibility" of Eluana Englaro's "vegetative state," Magistrate Filippo Lamanna wrote in arguments submitted to the Milan court, the ANSA news agency reported.
The 34-year-old Englaro has been kept alive through feeding tubes since a 1992 car accident.
Permission to remove the tubes was also granted because Englaro's father had provided evidence that before the accident, she had clearly expressed the wish to die rather than being left in a coma or a vegetative state, Lamanna wrote.
While voluntarily terminating a life is forbidden, Italy's constitution also grants patients the right to refuse medical treatment.
Wednesday's ruling is not definitive because recourse against it could still be sought through Italy's highest court appeals court, the Cassation.
Beppino Englaro, had seen several previous court rulings turn down his requests to end the life of his daughter who he says has been "forced to exist" in "inhuman and degrading" conditions.
Conservative lawmakers in Italy, backed by the Vatican, strongly oppose euthanasia on the grounds that life is sacred.
Pro-euthanasia activists argue that a terminally ill patient should have the right to refuse medication.