Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Death of Eluana Englaro

It is with great sadness that we report on the death of Eluana Englaro. Eluana the 38 year-old Italian comatose woman whose father had obtained permission in the courts to withdraw her nutrition and hydration, died just four days after their withdrawal. (CNA report) The decision to allow Eluana’s death by dehydration was met with protests throughout Italy and the Italian government under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attempted to pass emergency legislation to save her life after an earlier attempt was blocked by the country's president. The legislation was still in under discussion when Eluana's death was announced.

Although no cause of death has been announced, earlier news reports indicated that Eluana's intake of nutrients was being replaced with a heavy dose of sedatives. Palliative medication in high doses can cause a patient to die prematurely.

The news follows public statements by Englaro's physician that she has enjoyed almost perfect physical health during the 16 years following her car accident in 1992which left her with a serious brain injury but she was not brain dead. In an (CNA)interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the neurologist of the Englaro family, Carlo Alberto Defanti, who was overseeing the withdrawal of food and water from Eluana declared her to be "healthy." "She has never had any diseases and has no need for antibiotics," he said.

Eluana has been called the Terri Schiavo of Italy and Terri's brother Bobby Schindler,commenting on Eluana’s death said,(LifesiteNews.com) “I’m very sad to hear about Eluana. Our family grieves for her.” He added that he was “surprised at how quickly she has passed away.”

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the President of the Pontifical Council of Health Care, reacted to the news of Eluana's death, praying, "May the Lord welcome her and forgive those who led her there (to her death)." He also said that the circumstances under which her death occurred requires scrutiny, “whether it was because of the suspension of food and hydration, or by various causes. CNA report