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Paralysed Man Becomes Italy's First Assisted Suicide

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Paralysed Man Becomes Italy's First Assisted Suicide

An Italian man has ended his life by assisted suicide after he won his right to die in a legal battle.

It's thought the landmark ruling could impact other cases as campaigners push for the right to help those who are living with incurable illnesses or life-altering conditions.

Federico Carboni has been named as the first Italian to have been given permission to die by assisted suicide. (Credit: Luca Coscioni Association)
Federico Carboni has been named as the first Italian to have been given permission to die by assisted suicide. (Credit: Luca Coscioni Association)
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On Thursday at 11.05am, 44-year-old Federico Carboni was named as the first Italian to have requested and been granted permission to die by assisted suicide. He had previously been kept anonymous in the press under the pseudonym 'Mario', as Italian media followed his legal battle over the past 12 months.

In a statement, the Luca Coscioni Association confirmed Carboni's death, with the right-to-die advocacy group assisting Mr. Carboni during the past 18 months as he fought for the right to end his life.

In an official statement on its website, the charity said: "Federico Carboni, 44 years old from Senigallia, until now known as “Mario”, died this morning at 11.05 am. He is the first Italian to have requested and obtained access to medically assisted suicide, made legal by the sentence of the Constitutional Court 242/2019 on the Cappato-Antoniani case.

"The true identity of "Mario" is revealed after his death, as decided by him. Federico died in his home after having self-administered the lethal drug through a special machine, costing about 5,000 euros, entirely paid by him, and for which the Luca Coscioni Association had launched a fundraiser."

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A ruling by the Italian Constitutional Court allowed Carboni to end his life. Credit: Luca Coscioni Association
A ruling by the Italian Constitutional Court allowed Carboni to end his life. Credit: Luca Coscioni Association

The ruling by the Italian courts declared assisted suicide permissible in Italy under certain limited circumstances, but there is no legislation enshrining the practice, which led to delays for Carboni as he fought to be allowed to end his life.

Without the ruling, Carboni could have had the option to travel to Switzerland to end his life but it's a costly option and involves extensive travel; which he would not have been able to complete.

Speaking at a press conference to announce Carboni's death, Filomena Gallo, national secretary of the association, said: "Federico wanted to exercise his right to free choice in Italy, and he was aware that his resistance would be a right, a freedom, exercised for everyone."

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The Italian Constitutional Court has now ruled that in some cases assisting someone to die will not be considered a crime as long as the person requesting help meets these conditions; they had to have full mental capacity, they must be suffering from an incurable disease that has caused severe and intolerable physical or psychological distress, and they must also had to be kept alive by life-sustaining treatments.

The ruling and permissions by the Italian courts has also been highlighted as it could impact others seeking the same rights.

Prior to the ruling, Carboni's only option would have been to travel to Switzerland to end his life, but it is costly and often physically difficult. Credit: Unsplash
Prior to the ruling, Carboni's only option would have been to travel to Switzerland to end his life, but it is costly and often physically difficult. Credit: Unsplash

Carboni's final words have now also been shared, as he described being 'sorry' to die and urged his friends and family not to be sad: "I do not deny that I am sorry to take leave of life, I would be false and a liar if I said the opposite because life is fantastic and we only have one. But unfortunately it went like this. I have done everything possible to be able to live as well as possible and try to recover the maximum from my disability, but by now I am both mentally and physically exhausted. 

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"I do not have a minimum of autonomy in daily life, I am at the mercy of events, I depend on others for everything, I am like a boat adrift in the ocean. I am aware of my physical condition and future prospects so I am totally calm and calm about what I will do."

He concluded: "With the Luca Coscioni Association we defended ourselves by attacking and we attacked by defending ourselves, we have done jurisprudence and a piece of history in our country and I am proud and honoured to have been by your side. Now I am finally free to fly wherever I want."

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: Luca Coscioni Association

Topics: News, World News

Niamh Spence
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