Italy's highest court has authorised a father to disconnect a feeding tube that has kept his daughter alive in a comatose state since a 1992 car crash in a right-to-die case that has divided this predominantly Catholic country.
Eluana Englaro, who is now 37, has been in a vegetative state at a hospital in northern
Her father Beppino Englaro has been battling his way through
"This confirms that the rule of law still applies in this country," he said after the verdict.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, head of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care, said this week withdrawing food and water from a vegetative patient was "an inhuman monstrosity".
Pro-euthanasia activists hailed the verdict as historic, but political leaders were split over the case, with several Catholic lawmakers criticising it.
Mara Carfagna, Equal Opportunities Minister in the centre-right government, said removing the feeding tube amounted to killing the woman.
The Englaro case has been compared to that of American Terri Schiavo, who spent 15 years in a vegetative state and was allowed to die in 2005 after a long court battle.
Italian media reports said Englaro's father had already identified a hospice willing to remove the feeding tube, after being turned down by health centres in several regions of
Date created : 2008-11-13