For sixteen years, the only cure for Bruno, suffering from a disease that leads him to ingest everything, has been his hands tied and a mask on his face like that of Hannibal Lecter, the serial killer protagonist of the Thomas Harris novels. “A treatment that appears closer to the concept of torture than to that of treatment”, says the new Sardinian Guarantor for persons deprived of their personal liberty, Irene Testa, returning from a visit to the assistance facility for the disabled in Sulcis-Iglesiente in which the man is hospitalized.
“I waited a day before putting on paper what I saw at the Aias of Cortoghiana. A day to recover – he confesses – from the chilling and creepy scenario that I found myself facing”. “Bruno – explains the Guarantor – suffers from pica, a pathology that leads him to ingest anything that comes his way. For over sixteen years he has been kept tied up by the hands all day, with a helmet on his head. Apparently not because he is dangerous towards others, but towards oneself”.
Bruno’s is a rather rare eating disorder characterized by regularly eating inedible things, such as paper, clay, dirt or hair. Usually what the picacista eats does not harm his health. However, sometimes what he takes causes complications, such as constipation, digestive tract blockage, lead poisoning from eating paint chips, or parasitic infection from ingesting potting soil.
“I’m not a doctor and it’s not up to me to give recipes, perhaps with a simplistic flavor because they are guided by an emotional wave – explains Testa – I am the guarantor of people deprived of personal freedom and precisely of people, of individual cases, I have a duty to deal with I am therefore not referring to the structure, but to a specific case of a guest inside it, in truth already raised some years ago by the president of Unasam, the national union of mental health associations, Gisella Trincas, but also the subject of complaints to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, of letters to the then Minister of Health Speranza and of questions in the Sardinian Regional Council”.
“I am not resigned – assures the Guarantor – I cannot accept that a sick person is subjected to a treatment that appears closer to the concept of torture than to that of treatment. However, this is not the time for indignation but for concrete and rapid action by all the institutional actors who can make a contribution to changing this situation. This is a sort of appeal: we must do it for Bruno and for all the other Brunos”.