Italys most famous oncologist, Umberto Veronesi, has announced that he will to institute a register for anyone who wishes to make a living will. He and a group of lawyers will act as guarantors for anyone who deposits this form of will with the Veronesi Foundation, as long as it is written and signed while the person is in full possession of his or her mental faculties.
A living will is one in which people who are unable to express themselves because they are in a coma, have Alzheimers disease or a stroke etc can state the extent and the kind of the medical treatment they would wish to receive if they were terminally ill.
The possibility to make a living will is not on the Italian statute books and at the moment the final decision on treatment for the seriously or terminally ill remains in the hands of the individual doctor. Living wills are permitted in Holland, Denmark, Belgium and Germany as well as in the United States. For further information see www.fondazioneveronesi.it.