Woman 'killed' by Italy's burdensome red tape

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An Italian woman has been dead on paper for three years thanks to a mix-up in Italy. Photo:Daniel Wütschert/Flickr
14:37 CET+01:00
The local authority of Comacchio declared Gaetana Simoni dead on August 13th 2012 in a bureaucratic blunder, causing endless problems for the 42-year-old ever since.

“It would be funny if it didn't pose me thousands of problems each day,” Simoni told La Nuova Ferrara.

The blunder occurred when staff at the civil registry office in Comacchio, a town in Emilia-Romagna, mistook Simoni with a deceased woman of the same name -  a Gaetana Simoni, who was born in 1925.

“She died on August 13th 2012,” explained the 42-year old Simoni. “Someone must have made a mistake with the numbers and since then my family and I have been embroiled in this mishap.”

As it turns out, it's not easy being dead.

Simoni first discovered the problem when she went to her local doctors.

“You passed away',” my doctor told me, and because of that I was taken from his patients' list.

Without access to healthcare and medicine, Simoni paid a visit to the local town hall, where the problem was eventually found and rectified - but only at the local level.

Because of this, the mistake has had a profound impact on many areas of Simoni's life.

She has not been able leave the country for the last three years and can't sign any contracts.

She is also forced to travel around with a letter explaining that she is not actually dead as well as a copy of the death certificate of the other Gaetana Simoni

"If I didn't exist before – now I only half do."

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Simoni's national healthcare card recently expired and she can't renew it until she is brought back to life on paper. But after three years of being bounced from office to office, she is still no closer to resolving the problem.

"I've always been patient and I've never become angry about it but this problem has been going on for years," she said.

"And what about my taxes? All those years of contributions....what will happen to them? I really hope the situation is resolved as soon as possible. I can't go on like this."

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