Cover

In the past, the Italian media was moved by "hope trips" – stories of people travelling abroad seeking medical treatment unavailable at home. Today, medical emigration follows another trend, ending rather than prolonging life. Turin daily La Stampa reports on the case of Salvatore Cristafulli, 45, who after two years in a coma following a car accident in 2003, is paraplegic. Promised home care that was never provided, family members have chosen a shock solution – to take him to Belgium where euthanasia is practised. The Catholic Church has voiced oppostion to the plan, while Italian health authorities have immediately pledged to provide the assistance so far denied. The story, however, launches a debate about interpretations of the Italian constitution regarding biological testament, which recognizes the right of every person to decide, even against medical advice, whether or not to be subjected to a given treatment.