Newspaper Lauds Doctor’s Resignation

He Protested Colleagues’ Decision on Euthanasia

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 4, 2007 ( L’Osservatore Romano lauded the “exemplary gesture” of an Italian doctor who resigned as adviser of the College of Physicians to express his opposition to colleagues’ decision in a euthanasia case.

The College of Physicians decided not to initiate disciplinary measures against Dr. Mario Riccio, an anesthetist who on Dec. 20 disconnected the mechanical respirator that kept alive Piergiorgio Welby. The patient had requested an end to his life.

The Welby case unleashed a national debate on the legalization of euthanasia.

In his letter of resignation, Dr. Stefano Ojetti stressed the conviction that every adt of euthanasia is openly against the Hippocratic oath and the code of medical ethics.

Ojetti described Welby’s death as a “sad and dark page in the history of our medicine.”

L’Osservatore Romano, in today’s Italian edition, said, “Ojetti’s gesture merits the highest consideration and has exemplary value for those who exercise the medical profession.”

“At the same time, it is a duty to add a word of encouragement for those, within the decision-making organization of the College of Physicians, who continue their battle in defense of life, a value that is extremely attacked today,” added the Vatican newspaper.

“In fact,” the article said, “mobilization in defense of life passes also through commitment within the organizations that have the competence to regulate the activity of medical and health care agents.”

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