• Italy edition
 
Syrian refugee donates wife’s organs to Italy
Thousands of asylum-seekers have landed in Sicily in recent weeks. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Syrian refugee donates wife’s organs to Italy

Published: 04 Sep 2013 12:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Sep 2013 12:08 GMT+02:00

The 49-year-old woman was saved along with her husband and two teenage sons by the Italian coastguard off the coast of Siracusa in Sicily on August 28th.

The family had reportedly fled from Damascus and were planning to travel to Sweden from Italy. 

The woman was transferred to the Umberto I in Siracusa but doctors were unable to save her. Her husband then gave his consent for the woman’s organs to be donated to Italy. 

Thanks to his decision, three life-saving operations have now been carried out: one liver transplant on a 66-year-old Sicilian man, one kidney transplant on a 60-year-old Calabrian woman and another kidney transplant on a 41-year-old man also from Sicily. 

'Touching experience'

“It was a very touching experience that shows what real solidarity is,” Maurillo Carpinteri, a doctor who treated the woman told La Repubblica, “The father and two teenage boys overcame all mistrust and trusted completely. In a moment of great desperation they gave all that they had with a dignity that is truly exemplary.”

Health minister Beatrice Lorenzin offered her “profound thanks” to the family, describing the incident as “an example of how even in dramatic situations of great need, when refugees arrive on our coasts, there are people who manage to make loving gestures towards their neighbour that silently benefit from others.”

According to the paper, the woman worked as a nurse in Syria and her husband was a businessman. The family said they intended to travel to Sweden where the woman’s eldest son works.

The woman’s body will now be buried in Malta where her mother and two brothers live.

This family story is just one of the many tragedies which have dominated Italian headlines in the past month.

On Monday AFP reported that a 52-year-old Palestinian woman who was a resident in Syria died while crossing to Italy with her two sons and her husband, who suffered a leg injury.

Last week, a Syrian refugee was even forced to give birth at sea on her way to Italy.

AFP reports that thousands of migrants arriving on Italian shores in the past few weeks are Syrian and Egyptian refugees, many of them children and some as young as three.

On Monday Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta warned that the European Union lacks an adequate approach for the refugee problem that will worsen in the case of an international intervention in Syria.  

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Football
Andrea Pirlo 'available' to play for Italy
Andrea Pirlo is currently sidelined until October with a hip injury. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Andrea Pirlo 'available' to play for Italy

Andrea Pirlo may yet don an Italy shirt again despite suggesting after the World Cup he would move aside for younger talent, new national team boss Antonio Conte said on Sunday. READ  

Four mountaineers killed in Italian Alps
Four people died as they attempted to climb Monte Disgrazia. Photo: Roberto Galbiati

Four mountaineers killed in Italian Alps

Four mountain climbers were killed on Sunday after falling 3,000 metres down a crevasse in the Valtellina region of the Italian Alps, rescue workers said. READ  

Venice Film Festival
A glimpse at the Calabrian mafia in film
Francesco Munzi at the Venice Film Festival. Photo: AFP

A glimpse at the Calabrian mafia in film

Director Francesco Munzi talks about his film at the festival, and who the real "Black Souls" of the Calabrian mafia are. READ  

Mogherini: EU 'foreign minister'
Italy scores EU win as Mogherini gets top job
Mogherini is congratulated by outgoing European Council President Herman van Rompuy, while his successor Donald Tusk looks on. Photo: John Thys/AFP

Italy scores EU win as Mogherini gets top job

UPDATED: Italy's foreign minister, Federica Mogherini has been put in charge of the European Union's foreign relations at a summit in Brussels. The appointment represents a major coup for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. READ  

Italy to host EU economy summit in October
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for the EU economy summit in Italy on October 6th. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italy to host EU economy summit in October

French President Francois Hollande announced on Saturday that EU leaders would hold a summit in Italy in early October aimed at boosting growth and jobs in the bloc. READ  

EU foreign policy job
EU Socialists back Italy FM for foreign policy job
EU Socialists have agreed to back Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini as the bloc's new foreign policy chief. Photo: Maxim Shipenkov/AFP

EU Socialists back Italy FM for foreign policy job

European Union Socialists have agreed to back Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini as the bloc's new foreign policy chief, Germany said on Saturday. READ  

EU to aid parmesan hit by Russian ban
Italy exported €45 million worth of dairy products to Russia last year. Parmesan photo: Shutterstock

EU to aid parmesan hit by Russian ban

The European Commission has announced an aid package to help cheesemakers hit by Russia’s embargo on food imports, a move greeted with “satisfaction” by Italy’s parmesan consortium. READ  

First gay couple in Italy allowed to adopt child
Couple photo: Shutterstock

First gay couple in Italy allowed to adopt child

UPDATED: A woman whose partner gave birth has been allowed to adopt the child in the first case of stepchild adoption involving a same-sex couple. It's been described by a rights group as an historic step for Italy. READ  

Italy in recession
Italy's jobless rate back at 12.6 percent
Italy's unemployment rate is back at 12.6 percent. Photo: Jobs photo: Shutterstock

Italy's jobless rate back at 12.6 percent

Italy’s unemployment rate rose again in July after falling slightly in June, and now stands at 12.6 percent, the same rate recorded in April and May. READ  

Mr Gay World 2014: Gallery
Rome seeks to be 'capital of homophobia fight'
The international contestants have been toured around Rome. Photo: Beate A Tecza/MrGayWorld.com

Rome seeks to be 'capital of homophobia fight'

Contestants from around the globe have arrived in Rome for the Mister Gay World 2014 contest as the city seeks to become the "capital of the fight against homophobia". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Italy scores EU win as Mogherini gets top job
National
Refugees protest against 'monotonous' Italian food
National
Rome man begs for jail to escape wife
Health
Italian scientists map brain to diagnose ALS
Gallery
Top 10: Italy's best films
National
Waiter writes 'faggots' on gay diners' receipt
Health
'The G-spot doesn't exist': Italian scientist
Sport
Mario Balotelli's most memorable moments
Business & Money
'The crisis is extremely healthy for Italy'
Features
Top tips: Surviving a job interview in Italy
Health
'Let infertile couple use donors': Italian court
Health
Wives suffer 'Retired Husband Syndrome'
National
10 fascinating facts about Augustus
Sport
VIDEO: Balotelli takes on 'Ice Bucket Challenge'
Travel
Give kids extra month off 'to boost tourism': plea
Travel
Tourist takes €4,000 taxi from Denmark to Rome
Society
Outrage over gossip mag's free gay joke book
International
Rome mayor slams British travel warning
Politics
Scots inspire separatists in Italy's Germanic north
Travel
Ten stupid things tourists have done in Italy
Politics
Bono praises Renzi's leadership in letter
National
'Take down Facebook honeymoon snaps': court
Business & Money
Crisis-hit shops scrap traditional August break
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

550
jobs available