Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 68(3) August 2018


Bambino Gesu Hospital Charter To Protect the Rights of Terminally Ill Children

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The Catholic Medical Quarterly and the Medical Ethics Alliance commend the Bambino Gesu Hospital (the Vatican's children’s hospital) for its charter to protect the rights of terminally ill children. The Charter (released in June 2008) outlines the basic rights of both parents and children. Mariella Enoc, the hospital’s president, said at its release, “We will pass it through the European Parliament, to all the member countries. All those that, as associations of parents or of sick persons, or other paediatric hospitals in the world and European ones, want to consider it.”

Enoc stressed the importance of a therapeutic alliance between the patient’s family and the doctors. She said, “It’s an alliance that must truly be made. I asked the President of the Alder Hey Hospital [paediatric hospital of Liverpool] to make an alliance between the Bambino Gesu and his hospital; unfortunately, that was not accepted. However, I hope that with many other hospitals, including European ones, this alliance may be accepted.”

The 10 articles in the Charter of Rights for Incurable Children are as follows:

  • The child and his family are entitled to the best possible relationship with doctors and health personnel
  • The child and his family have the right to health education
  • The child and his family have the right to obtain a second opinion
  • The child and his family have the right to receive the most competent diagnosis
  • The child has the right to access the best experimental treatment
  • The child is entitled to cross-border health transfers
  • The child has the right to continuity of care and palliative care
  • The child has the right to respect his person even in the final phase of life, without therapeutic obstinacy
  • The child and his family have a right to psychological and spiritual accompaniment.
  • The child and his family have the right to participate in care, research and reception activities.


The full charter (in Italian) can be found at: