Italian law on advance directives offers no choice for patients

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 19 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4610
  1. Fabio Turone
  1. 1Milan

Italy’s lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, has passed a law on advance directives that explicitly excludes the option for people to refuse artificial hydration and nutrition, applies only to patients who have a neurological condition that is difficult to assess, and gives doctors the right to disregard patients’ wishes.

Ignazio Marino, a senator for the opposition Democratic Party and transplant surgeon who heads the parliamentary investigative commission on the health system and who is one of Italy’s most prominent supporters of patient choice, said, “This law basically tells doctors that they can stop …

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