Rome - A decision is awaited from the Italian court, presiding over a milestone case regarding a patient named Piergiorgio Welby - suffering from muscular dystrophy, paralyzed and terminally ill - who has petitioned the court to allow the doctors to disengage him from the respirator, and allow him to die.
Italy, largely influenced by Roman Catholic sentiments, has not taken it too well, and the case has stirred a hornet's nest, where euthanasia is not permitted by the law.
Welby is bedridden and is fed only by means of a tube. A computer deciphers his eye movement and relates his thoughts, as he is unable to speak. He has appealed to the courts to permit euthanasia, so that he may be allowed o die peacefully, rather than undergo the suffering.
The court proceedings will seek to ascertain the veracity of administering life - prolonging treatment to Piergiorgio Welby. Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Vatican's pontifical health council said, "The problem in this case is to know if we are really faced with a case of prolonging life by artificial means."
The judgment is awaited this week.