Living-wills bill moves from House to Senate

Patients can refuse treatment but doctors can object

Living-wills bill moves from House to Senate

Rome, April 21 - A bill on living wills passed from the Lower House to the Senate Thursday evening by 324 votes to 37. A living will, also called a directive to physicians or advance directive, is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. According to the present shape of the bill, which has been contested by Catholics, terminally ill patients can state beforehand a refusal of treatment but doctors can refuse to comply with their wishes because of conscientious objection. According to the bill, there is a ban on excessive and unnecessary end-of-life treatment and a recognition of the patient's right to refuse treatment, also in Catholic clinics. But the doctor may refuse to pull the plug because of conscientious objection.

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