“The Municipality of Rome does not inform the population and employees, since 2017 only one citizen out of 458 has successfully filed their DAT. The Luca Coscioni Association has conducted an investigation into the state of application of the law on Living Wills in the Municipality of Rome , with the specific aim of verifying the times, methods and, if necessary, gaps in the procedure for filing the Advance Provisions for Treatment (DAT) in the Capital”.
121 municipalities of the metropolitan city
“First of all – we read in the survey by the Coscioni Association – thanks to access to the documents on the 121 Municipalities of the Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, to which 74 Municipalities responded, it emerged that since the law came into force (beginning of 2018 ) to date, 9,235 DATs have been filed, and therefore only 1 for every 347 inhabitants, one of the highest values in Italy, which relegates the Capitoline metropolitan city to the bottom of the ranking of Italian provinces (95th out of 107)”.
In the capital, the data seems more positive than the metropolitan one: with 5,074 living wills filed, there is one DAT for every 458 inhabitants. “However, the right to self-determination in end-of-life choices still seems to be scarcely usable. Among the reasons for the poor enjoyment of this civil freedom, in addition to the absence of an information campaign by the Ministry of Health, the Region, the Municipality and the health companies, there is also serious institutional obstructionism given by bureaucratic complications and strong disorganization within the municipalities which does not allow citizens to easily deposit their wishes”, we read in the research.
The Luca Coscioni Association thus conducted a further investigation thanks to the commitment of 25 volunteers, who tried to deposit their DAT at the 15 Municipalities of the Capital. “The result is a disheartening picture. The average waiting time for the first appointment is 37.5 days. In the event that, due to lack of documents or other reasons, it is not possible to deposit one’s living will at the first appointment and it is necessary to schedule one one second, the waiting time for the latter is on average 18 days”.
Long times for patients
In both cases, explains the note, these are “excessive times, especially for all those people who in a short time have to undergo surgical operations which can lead to complications and in general for the sick who see their right to self-determination; 20% of the municipalities/offices, in their institutional sites, do not make any reference to the DAT filing service nor indicate the procedure to be followed for their drafting and subsequent filing; In 10 out of 15 municipalities the opening of the offices for the filing of the DAT on just one specific day of the week (in some cases we are even talking about just one day a month). In 8 out of 15 municipalities the filing procedures appear confusing and there are even conflicting indications between the site and those communicated directly from the municipal office; Finally, in 4 municipalities it is possible to make an appointment only by email, effectively preventing an important portion of the population, especially the older ones, from independently requesting an appointment to deposit their DAT”.
Bureaucracy hinders law enforcement
The investigation conducted thanks to the Coscioni Cell of Rome “highlights and documents how the application of the law is hindered by the bureaucracy of the municipalities. An average waiting time of 37.5 days (with waiting peaks of up to 6 months) does not is compatible with the needs of those who, awaiting important operations or in the presence of pathologies, want to exercise their right to deposit and enforce their wishes regarding health treatments, nor with those who need to quickly modify their DAT- they declare Filomena Gallo and Matteo Mainardi, secretary and coordinator of the Legal Euthanasia campaign of the Luca Coscioni Association – The investigation also highlighted the unpreparedness of municipal employees in providing correct information on the process to follow to file their DAT: citizens are often not informed that they have to bring with you on the day of the appointment additional documents that can be downloaded from the Municipality’s website (documents added by the Capitoline bureaucracy and not provided for in any other Municipality), forcing people to have to make a second appointment to deposit their DAT, continuing to lengthen the time of waiting”.
“Lastly – they conclude – there was a provision on the part of several municipalities to book the appointment only online via email as well as to independently download and print documents present on institutional sites, a provision which excludes a large portion of the possibility of filing a DAT of the elderly population of the Capital. Given these data, it is not surprising that Rome is at the bottom of the ranking in the DAT deposited/inhabitants ratio. We appeal to the Mayor and the Presidents of the Municipalities to remedy as soon as possible the obstacles to respecting the law placed in be from local bureaucracies”.