Issues

Paralyzed man dies in Italy’s first case of assisted suicide

euthanasia, disabled, assisted suicide

Twelve years ago, 44-year-old Federico Carboni was paralyzed following a car crash. This week, he died in Italy’s first case of assisted suicide after self-administering a lethal drug in his home.

Carboni, an unmarried truck driver, has been at the center of a lengthy legal battle involving the Luca Coscioni Association, a group that advocates for the legalization of euthanasia. The group has been assisting Carboni under the alias “Mario” for the past 18 months, petitioning authorities to permit him to end his life and helping him to raise funds to cover the cost. Carboni’s real name wasn’t released publicly until his death.

In 2019, Italy’s Constitutional Court decriminalized assisted suicide under certain conditions and with the approval of local health authorities and an ethics board. In November 2021, the ethics board determined Carboni met the conditions for assisted suicide due to “intolerable” suffering. Technically, assisted suicide is still illegal in the country.

READ: Vermont legalizes assisted suicide by Zoom or Skype, with no prior doctor-patient meeting

According to USA Today, the tetraplegic man said he had poor quality of life and was completely dependent on others, requiring 24-hour care. He compared himself to “a boat adrift in the ocean,” and said he was mentally and physically exhausted. Tragically, he penned a letter last month admitting he regrets having to end his life.

“I can’t deny that I regret taking leave of life, I would be false and lying if I said otherwise because life is great and we only have one,” the letter said. “But unfortunately that’s the way it went.”

Carboni is not alone in feeling like he had no choice but to end his life. Studies show that people who seek assisted suicide are not typically seeking a so-called “dignified” death, but are instead depressed, hopeless, and fear being a burden to their loved ones — the same reasons healthy people attempt to kill themselves. Live Action News previously reported that research from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing found that 72% of people who wished to die changed their minds after their feelings of depression and loneliness improved.

The remedy to this issue is not death; rather, it is compassionate palliative care that respects human dignity and offers real care instead of death. We continually send the message that those who have severe medical conditions or terminal illnesses are not worth saving. That narrative needs to change.

Sadly, Luca Coscioni Association said in a news release that they hope Carboni’s death paves the way for others to seek assisted suicide in Italy.

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