Health ministry told to pay dead soldier's family

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15:09 CET+01:00
The Italian Ministry of Health has been ordered to pay compensation to the family of soldier Francesco Finessi in a landmark ruling, after he died following vaccinations he received during military service.

Finessi, who was from Codigoro near Ferrara, died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2002 at the age of 22, an illness that has been "directly linked" to a vaccination taking during his military service, according to reports in ArticoloTre.

It is the first time in Italian history that the Ministry of Health has been ordered to pay compensation for a death. The judge, Alessandra de Curtis, ruled that the anti-typhus vaccinations, which Finessi received twice during his service, were administered “macroscopically”, or without using a microscope, and that a mistake was made.

In addition to the compensation, Nicola Marchetti, the medical officer for the 16th Alpine regiment to which Finessi belonged, was sentenced to three years in prison.

The Finessi family's lawyer said he hoped the judgement would “create a new precedent which might help many other families in similar situations. It is a symbol of justice and it sets forth a principle.”

The exact figure of compensation is not yet known, but the lawyer speculated that it could be “around €150,000.”

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Finessi's mother said: “My son should be recognized as a victim of his duty. We will only have true justice when the Ministry of Defence puts a wreath on his gravestone.”

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