• Italy's news in English
 

Syrian refugee donates wife’s organs to Italy

Sophie Inge · 4 Sep 2013, 12:08

Published: 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Migrant crisis
Italy arrests ten over migrant boat deaths
The arrests follow statements made by survivors rescued from the same migrant boat. Photo: Marcello Paternostro/AFP

Italy arrests ten over migrant boat deaths

12 minutes ago

Italian authorities said Friday they had arrested ten suspected people smugglers in connection with the death by asphyxiation of 52 people who had been forced to remain in the hold of a migrant boat on which 52 people asphyxiated.

Italian lesbian author gets papal blessing
Pope Francis has sent his blessing to a lesbian author of children's books dealing with same-sex families. Photo: Filippo Monteforte

Italian lesbian author gets papal blessing

1 hour ago

Pope Francis has sent his blessing to a lesbian author of children's books dealing with same-sex families, wishing her and her wife well in their work, it emerged on Friday.

Venice Film Festival
Jonathan Demme to get Venice award
Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

Jonathan Demme to get Venice award

2 hours ago

Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme is to be presented with the Visionary Talent award at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, organizers announced on Friday.

UK police probe death of Italian restaurant owner
35-year-old Fabio Cabitza reportedly fell from the window of a flat in Homerton, east London. Photo: Raffaele

UK police probe death of Italian restaurant owner

3 hours ago

British police are investigating the suspicious death of an Italian restaurant owner, who died after falling from the third floor of a flat in London early on Wednesday morning.

Migrant crisis
Up to 200 feared dead in latest migrant disaster
Two of the migrants rescued in the tragedy. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Up to 200 feared dead in latest migrant disaster

4 hours ago

Up to 200 people are feared to have died off the coast of Libya in the latest tragedy to strike migrants fleeing conflict in the hope of finding safety in Europe.

Muslim mayor refuses to take in refugees
Mayor Arturo Cerulli converted to Islam 27 years ago. Photo: Arturo Cerulli

Muslim mayor refuses to take in refugees

5 hours ago

UPDATED: A Muslim mayor in the Tuscan seaside community of Monte Argentario has provoked a political outcry for refusing to accept any refugees.

Ex-archbishop dies ahead of child abuse trial
Former Polish archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (C) has died ahead of his trial for child abuse. Photo: Erika Santelices/AFP

Ex-archbishop dies ahead of child abuse trial

7 hours ago

UPDATED: Josef Wesolowski, a former Polish archbishop who had been due to be first cleric tried in the Vatican for child sex abuse, was found dead on Friday.

Migrant crisis
'I stopped counting': Doctor on migrant dead
A rescued migrant on Wednesday. Photo: Marcello Paternostro/AFP

'I stopped counting': Doctor on migrant dead

8 hours ago

Stiff lifeless bodies submerged in water - it's a sight Canadian doctor Simon Bryant won't soon forget after he found dozens of dead migrants in the hold of a boat off Libya.

Ostia council dissolved over mafia fears
The Italian government has dissolve Ostia district council over mafia fears. Photo: Andrea Vanni

Ostia council dissolved over mafia fears

9 hours ago

A district council in southern Rome has been dissolved due to concerns over mafia infiltration, Italy's interior Minister Angelino Alfano announced after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Italian base jumper dies in Swiss Alps
The Italian man died will base jumping in in Gastern valley, in the central canton of Berne. Photo: Kecko

Italian base jumper dies in Swiss Alps

9 hours ago

A 46-year-old Italian plunged to his death in the Swiss Alps on Thursday after crashing onto rocks during a base jump, the second such accident in Switzerland in under a year, police said.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Travel
Ten adventurous ways to see Italy
Education
Fewer Italians want to be doctors
Sport
Nibali kicked off Tour of Spain for hitching a lift
Features
Italy's best-kept secrets: 10 must-see places
Italy wants answers on mobster's flashy funeral
National
The neglected children of Italy's domestic workers
National
Doggy bags: The last Italian taboo?
Travel
Civita: The Italian town that refuses to die
Travel
How bad mannered tourists are riling Venice
National
Italy slammed for 'faking' Roman ruin
National
10 Italian dishes with truly disgusting names
National
Italian park held hostage by 'veggie' panther
National
Lost pensioner survives on herbs for nine days
National
Italian mum and daughter reunited after WWII
Five 'ghost' buildings that cost Italy dearly
National
Pompeii survives bumpy restoration saga
National
Italian town warns people to 'stop dying'
National
Why Italy's south is far better than the north
Rome 'too crowded' for more migrants: mayor
Politics
Italy's anti-establishment party 'ready to govern'
Sport
Rome rules out using Vatican for Olympic bid
National
Italy's south is worse off than Greece
National
What happens to Italy’s missing migrant kids?
National
Rome mayor fights for survival amid chaos
National
Six dodgy fashion trends to emerge from Italy
National
Is Italy about to legalize cannabis?
National
Rome's 'decay' prompts council reshuffle
Business & Money
Chinese are quaffing more Italian wine
Travel
Seven daft TripAdvisor comments about Italy
National
Italian town bans dog barking during naptime
National
Tornado predicted as Italy heatwave ends
National
Italy told to recognize same-sex couple rights
National
Migrant girl dies after insulin thrown in sea
National
Heatwave kills 140 pensioners in Piedmont
National
Treviso homeowners burn migrants' furniture
National
Tourists in hot water for Rome fountain dips
Migrants rush to help after Venice tornado
Politics
Isis steps up campaign with Italy consulate hit
National
Paolini tweets 'sorry' for cocaine shame
Travel
Where and how to take a great selfie in Italy
National
Venice tornado captured on video
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

3,234
jobs available