TIMELINE: Right-to-die case splits Italy

Mon Feb 9, 2009 5:00pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Eluana Englaro, the 38-year-old comatose woman who was at the center of an Italian right-to-die case, died on Monday night, the clinic said.

Following are the main events in a case that has split the mainly Catholic country.

January 18, 1992 - Eluana Englaro suffers severe brain damage in a car crash and enters a coma. Doctors later say her condition is irreversible.

1999 - Englaro's father, Beppino, starts his legal battle to have her feeding tube removed, saying that before the accident she had stated her wish not to be kept alive artificially. Several court rulings in 1999, 2003 and 2006 reject his case.

July 9, 2008 - A Milan appeals court, for the first time in Italy, authorizes Englaro's father to disconnect her feeding tube as long as he follows proper medical guidelines. State prosecutors appeal against the ruling.

October 8, 2008 - Italy's top court rejects the state prosecutors' appeal and says Beppino can disconnect the feeding tube.

December 17, 2008 - Health Minister Maurizio Sacconi issues an order barring all state and private hospitals from implementing the court ruling. A regional court later says that order is null and void.

February 3, 2009 - Eluana Englaro is taken to a clinic in the city of Udine after several hospitals turn her down, fearing retaliation from the government.

February 6, 2009 - Doctors stop feeding Englaro to allow her to die. President Giorgio Napolitano refuses to sign an emergency decree by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's cabinet ordering them to resume feeding her. The government then passes a draft bill to be approved by parliament.

February 9, 2009 - The Senate starts discussing the bill. The government says the Udine clinic hosting Englaro does not meet legal requirements, but regional inspectors say they found no problems there.

(editing by Tim Pearce)