Inquiry Into Italian Nursing Homes Sought By Amnesty

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : October 26, 2021

An independent parliamentary inquiry into Covid deaths in Italian nursing homes was called for by Amnesty International on Friday.

They were also asked to enquire into reports of retaliation against staff in nursing homes who spoke about the unsafe conditions there.

Inquiry Into Italian Nursing Homes Sought By Amnesty

The findings of Amnesty were based on interviews with 34 different healthcare workers. In addition to this, union leaders and lawyers were also interviewed.

Concerns about a climate of fear and retaliation in their workplace were raised by 1/3rd of the workers. The human rights watchdog said so on Friday.

Inquiry Into Italian Nursing Homes Sought By Amnesty

Thousands of Covid deaths were seen in the nursing homes in Italy just like everywhere else in Europe, the US, and beyond.

Investigations have been opened by prosecutors to figure out whether there are any criminal activities going on.

The first country in the west that was severely hit by the Covid outbreak was Italy.

In the hardest-hit Lombardy region, they found themselves short of protective equipment, face masks, and hospital beds.

Since there was no room for them, a lot of the older residents in Lombardy were not even taken to the hospital during the first surge.

In addition to not being provided with adequate protective equipment, these employees of nursing homes who voiced their concerns about the unsafe working conditions were also subjected to disciplinary proceedings.

Milan’s Pio Albergo Trivulzio nursing home is Italy’s largest. Amnesty cited the case of the suspension of Pietro La Grassa who is a union representative.

A criminal investigation was opened into the home after a number of employees, including La Grassa, raised concerns about the high number of deaths that occurred early in the pandemic.

A charge that the management denied was that the workers were asked not to wear masks in order to prevent spooking the residents of the nursing home.

In December 2020, La Grassa was reinstated, but the criminal investigation was shelved by prosecutors in Milan because a causal link between the 300 who had died at the facility and the actions of the management could not be established.

On Friday, an organization that represents the dozens of victims announced that they would ask a judge to overrule the prosecutors’ request by stating that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

The Happiness Association’s head, Alessandro Azzoni, said that they refused to not get an answer to this fundamental question of justice.

He added that a failure in the search for truth would be represented by the dismissal of the proceedings. He also said that the injustice of the Italian legal system would be sanctioned.

A report was issued by Amnesty’s office in Italy which was titled ‘Abandoned’.

This alleged that Italian authorities violated the rights of humans in nursing homes, especially in 3 of the hardest-hit regions by failing to protect their right to life and health. This included Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Veneto.

Due to the fact that residents were not tested early on and Italy’s official count does not take into account the number of suspected Covid deaths, the overall death toll among residents of Italian elder care facilities is unknown.

A decision made by lawmakers in July to limit the scope of a parliamentary inquest to just look at events preceding Jan 30, 2020, was followed by a call by Amnesty for a parliamentary inquiry.

Jan 30 was when the government declared a state of emergency and suspended flights to and from China.

The actual outbreak and how it had been handled will not be considered by the Italian inquiry as a consequence of this. The first case was only confirmed in February.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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