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Colombia: controversy over euthanasia canceled at the last moment


The cancellation at the last moment of the scheduled euthanasia of a fifty-something woman sparked controversy Monday in Colombia, the only country in America ...

The cancellation at the last moment of the scheduled euthanasia of a 50-year-old woman sparked controversy Monday in Colombia, the only Latin American country where this practice is allowed.

Martha Sepulveda, 51, suffers from Charcot's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS), an incurable degenerative disease.

She has expressed a desire to die by euthanasia, even though she is not terminally ill.

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“I may be a coward, but I don't want to suffer anymore, I'm tired,”

Martha Sepulveda had explained a few days earlier in an interview with local TV Caracol.

"I have had a very peaceful mind since I received the authorization for euthanasia, I laugh, I sleep better,"

said this practicing Catholic, with legs paralyzed by the disease, who justified her choice by saying:

“God doesn't want me to suffer like this”. “Mom is going to die on Sunday morning and she is happy,”

her son also said during the same interview, alongside his smiling mother. Scheduled for last Sunday in a hospital in Medellin (north-west), euthanasia was finally canceled on Friday by order of the health authorities.

The medical commission, which had authorized euthanasia, came back "unanimously" on its decision, after notably noting, referring to the televised interview with Martha Sepulveda, her

"better state of health than initially reported by the patient and her family ”

, according to a communication relayed by relatives of the patient.

"We do not know why they evaluated in August with certain criteria and in October with others (...)"

, protested Monday his lawyer, Camila Jaramillo, who announced a lawsuit for

"cruel and degrading treatment "

and violation of the right to die with dignity.

"Although this situation brings my mother back to her previous state of despair and sadness, (...) we are ready to fight for her dignity, because her decision has not changed in any way


" her

said to the press. son, Federico Redondo.

Euthanasia has been legal since 1997 in Colombia, but it is strictly regulated, and 157 people have resorted to it since then, according to official figures. The Constitutional Court ruled in July to extend it to those victims of

“intense physical or psychological suffering resulting from bodily harm or a serious and incurable illness”

, but not fatal. Asked by AFP, the press service of the Ministry of Health justified the decision concerning Matrha Sepulveda by explaining that

"the Constitutional Court has not yet notified the judgment to the ministry".

Elsewhere in Latin America, there is a law in Mexico that allows patients or their families to request that life not be prolonged by artificial means, while in Uruguay, Parliament is debating a bill on euthanasia.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-11

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