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Italy's 'right to die' case gets new trial

Oct. 16, 2007 at 8:42 PM

ROME, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- An Italian man who wants to remove life support from his long-comatose daughter was given a new trial Tuesday by the nation's highest appellate court.

Beppino Englaro says he wants to release his daughter, Eluana, from "the inhuman and degrading condition" in which she has been "forced to exist" for 15 years, ANSA reported.

A Milan appellate court last year rejected his longstanding request that the feeding tube be removed from the 34-year-old woman, who has been called "Italy's Terri Schiavo," a reference to a U.S. case in which a Florida man ultimately was allowed to end life support for his comatose wife.

However, the Cassation Court ordered a retrial in the Englaro case, ruling a person's right to decide what medical treatment they receive should be respected even if it would cause death, the Italian news agency reported.

Eluana Englaro of Lecco was left in a vegetative state after being injured in a car crash in 1992.

Demetrio Neri of the National Bioethics Committee said the ruling was "important because it opens up a path." But Adriano Pessina, head of the bioethics center at Sacro Cuore Catholic University, countered that it "raises various serious doubts."

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