Botched diagnosis led to Italian's assisted death

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Pietro D’Amico went to Switzerland for an assisted suicide. Photo: Masahiko Ohkubo/Flickr
11:48 CEST+02:00
An Italian magistrate who went to Switzerland for an assisted suicide was not gravely ill as he had thought, an autopsy has revealed.

Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria in southern Italy, ended his life at a clinic in Basel in April.  The father-of-one took the decision after a wrong diagnosis from Italian and Swiss doctors, his family's lawyer Michele Roccisano told Corriere della Sera.

“The scientific error pushed him to seek the help of the clinic in Basel,” Roccisano said.

An autopsy carried out by the University of Basel’s Institute of Forensic Medicine found that D’Amico was not suffering from a life-threatening illness at the time of his death.

Roccisano has called on the Italian and Swiss authorities to examine D’Amico’s medical records to determine what went wrong.

Dignitas, an association for assisted suicide, has said that a Swiss doctor must confirm that a patient has a terminal illness, an “unendurable incapacitating disability” or “unbearable and uncontrollable pain” before a life-ending drug can be authorized.

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In May, the European Court of Human Rights said that Switzerland did not provide clear enough guidelines on who has the right to obtain the lethal drug. 

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