A New Law of ‘Living Will’ in Italy: A Critical Analysis
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In December 2017, the Italian Parliament approved Law no. 219/2017, which entered into force on 31 January 2018. This vindicates for the first time the rights of capable adults in Italy to create a living will and nominate a surrogate, thus enabling them to cater to their potential future loss of capacity in a manner that more robustly reflects their values, wishes and beliefs and, to that extent, their autonomy. This article will critically explore the position of the new legislation on living wills specifically, locating it within a broader transformation in the direction of patient autonomy. It will compare the law on living wills in a number of other European jurisdictions and the only prior effort to reform Italian law on this issue—the markedly more paternalistic Bill 2350 which was debated in the Italian Parliament in 2009 in one form in 2009 and another in 2011, but failed to pass in either. It will conclude not just by highlighting the overall significance of the changed position on living wills but also considering how some important issues could have been better clarified through the development of detailed Ministry of Health Circulaire of February 2018.
KeywordsAutonomy Living will Law of December 2017 Right to self-determination
This paper is part of the Jean Monnet Module 2019-2022 in EU Health Issues (610655-EPP-1-2019-1-AL- EPPJMO-MODULE) financed by Erasmus+.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.
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