Marta Sepúlveda celebrated her 51st birthday in January 2021. (Credit: Courtesy Marta Sepúlveda)
(CNN Spanish) -
(CNN Spanish) -
After two years of an intense legal battle, Víctor Escobar became the first non-terminal patient in Latin America to receive euthanasia this Friday, according to Escobar's lawyer, Luis Giraldo Montenegro, on his Twitter account.
The assisted death procedure was carried out in Colombia at 9:20 p.m. local time at an unidentified clinic.
Escobar had requested euthanasia twice, the first time in 2020, but a scientific committee conducted an evaluation of the case and he was denied it because he was not a terminal patient.
Finally, in December 2021, the Civil Court 17 of the Cali Circuit authorized the procedure.
For her part, on Saturday, January 8, Martha Sepúlveda also underwent the euthanasia procedure at the IPS Incodol in Medellín, as ordered by a judge on October 27, as reported in a statement by the organization DescLab, which promotes the human rights and the right to assisted death in Colombia.
Sepúlveda had also struggled to access the procedure
Sepúlveda was going to die of her own free will initially on October 10, 2021, but the procedure was canceled by the Medellín IDC, which argued in a statement that the patient did not meet the criteria "of termination as considered in the first committee." .
Sepúlveda suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a serious, incurable and degenerative disease.
Instead, Víctor Escobar suffered, according to his lawyer, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high blood pressure and also suffered from immobility of part of his body, due to an accident.
What if Martha Sepúlveda repents just before her euthanasia?
This was explained by his lawyer
Shortly before undergoing the procedure, Víctor Moreno stated in an interview with the RCN news network that “they should put their hands on their hearts and see the suffering of each non-terminal patient, degenerative patient like me, and the right to undergo a dignified death ”.
His lawyer reported that Moreno decided to donate his functional organs.
CNN sought a reaction from the family and the lawyers but they decided not to speak more publicly about the case and only refer us to the statement.
Intense debate in the country over euthanasia
The cases of Moreno and Sepúlveda generated an intense debate on the right to assisted death in Colombian society in recent months.
In Colombia, euthanasia has been decriminalized since 1997. It can be applied, according to the criteria of that time, as long as it is a terminal illness, that there is intense pain, that the procedure is requested voluntarily and that it is performed by a specialist.
But a new Constitutional Court ruling in July expanded the right to die with dignity (through euthanasia) for patients suffering from a serious and incurable illness or injury that causes intense suffering.