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Aided suicide in question after botched diagnosis

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
21:29 CEST+02:00
An Italian magistrate was not gravely ill as he was told before he went to Switzerland for an assisted suicide, an autopsy has revealed.

“The scientific error pushed him to seek the help of the clinic in Basel,” Roccisano said.



Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria in southern Italy, ended his life at a clinic in Basel in April.



The father-of-one took the decision after a wrong diagnosis from Italian and Swiss doctors, his family's lawyer Michele Roccisano told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

An autopsy carried out by the University of Basel’s Institute of Forensic Medicine found that D’Amico was not suffering from a life-threatening illness at the time of his death.

Roccisano has called on the Italian and Swiss authorities to examine D’Amico’s medical records to determine what went wrong.

Dignitas, an association for assisted suicide, has said that a Swiss doctor must confirm that a patient has a terminal illness, an “unendurable incapacitating disability” or “unbearable and uncontrollable pain” before a life-ending drug can be authorized.

In May, the European Court of Human Rights said that Switzerland did not provide clear enough guidelines on who has the right to obtain the lethal drug. 

Earlier this week, a Neuchâtel doctor was fined 500 francs after a local court found him guilty of helping an 89-year-old patient die without getting a proper diagnosis of the man’s condition.

Dr. Philippe Freiburghaus is considering an appeal, arguing that he acted out of compassion for the elderly man.

Story continues below…

The patient was suffering pain but did not want to be treated or examined and had threatened to commit suicide by slashing his wrists, the doctor testified.

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