When my father was 90 he suffered a devastating hemorrhage, lost consciousness and was put into intensive care.
The doctors said he had a kidney tumor which needed to be removed but he was too old to undergo an operation.
They told me to let him go.
I went to talk to a doctor in another hospital, Dr. Lentini, whom I was told was the best urologist in Italy and in Europe.
He examined my father’s medical record and shook his head.
“Your father is in a desperate situation, he has lost a lot of blood, he is too old to undergo the operation”
“You’re saying this because you don’t know him” I said “ My father is a fighter and he loves life. I know he wants to live”
Dr. Lentini looked at me for a minute thoughtfully, then replied.
“Well, if he was my own father I wouldn’t let him die without even trying. Bring him here tomorrow and I’ll see what I can do”
The next day I hired an ambulance and took my father over to Dr. Lentini’s unit at San Camillo Hospital in Rome. He was still unconscious. When we arrived Dr. Lentini was waiting for him with a team of experts to value his condition.
Needless to say all of this was totally free of charge.
My father was operated the next day and after 2 weeks he was on his feet again.
He lived to be 101.
Here is the video of him celebrating his 100th birthday surrounded by the love of his family, his children and grand-children.
Italians tend to take all of this for granted, but I will be forever grateful to Dr. Lentini, his team and the Italian National healthcare system for giving me the opportunity to save my father’s life.
The point I wanted to make by telling my story is that I was able to take my father to another hospital where a doctor was willing to try to save him. What if the first hospital had detained my father, forbidding me to take him somewhere else, and had decided through a court ruling that he’d be taken off life support against my will? Of course, this would be unthinkable of in Italy, or in any democratic country for that matter. This is what people find appalling. I think you should all be worrying about this.