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More than a year and a half and three attempts for a blocked euthanasia: “Everything is an obstacle. “We are in limbo.”

2024-02-21T05:04:39.656Z

Highlights: José Díaz, 33, can still move his arm and head with difficulty. This helps him to agree or deny and to draw letters on the table when he wants to tell his sister and his mother something more complex than a yes or no. This Tuesday they confirmed to him at the Juan Ramón Jiménez Hospital in Huelva that the center does not have doctors - those who supervise the process - because they are all conscientious objectors. “I don't know what we're going to do," says Sandra, who doesn't know how she's going to convey this bad news to her brother.


They have confirmed to José Díaz that all consulting doctors in Huelva are objectors, the last obstacle that adds to other irregularities since the procedures began in the summer of 2022.


José Díaz, 33, can still move his arm and head with difficulty.

This helps him to agree or deny and to draw letters on the table when he wants to tell his sister and his mother something more complex than a yes or no.

That arm jumped with joy (raised with her hand clenched into a fist) when at the end of last year her new family doctor agreed to be her responsible doctor, the first step in obtaining a euthanasia that she had been denied for so long. throughout the previous year.

A sign of triumph that has turned, once again, into frustration.

Since that moment, the bureaucratic and administrative management problems, the negligence in his health center when it comes to complying with the deadlines recognized in the law, have turned his hope into desperation, which has worsened in the last 15 days.

This Tuesday they confirmed to him at the Juan Ramón Jiménez Hospital in Huelva that the center does not have doctors - those who supervise the process - because they are all conscientious objectors, news that comes a week after he was informed that he would have to undergo a year to be able to count on that professional, because until then they did not have the neurologist who should assume that task.

“We are in limbo.

"I don't know what we're going to do," says Sandra, who doesn't know how she's going to convey this bad news to her brother, whose waiting has plunged him into an agony that makes the constant and unbearable pain with which he has been living since he was born even more unbearable. On March 26, 2021, he suffered a domestic accident.

“Everything is an obstacle, everything is an impediment and I am already very tired,” says Sandra.

“Is there really no professional in all of Huelva who can act as a consulting doctor?

He only has to corroborate that he meets the requirements demanded by the law,” says Eva Camps, spokesperson in Andalusia for the NGO Derecho a Morir Dignmente.

“This is an intolerable lack of respect, what a way to ignore the pain and suffering of others, in addition to being a total breach of current legislation,” she denounces.

“Anyone who sees my brother with the naked eye will realize that it is not dignified to live like this,” emphasizes Sandra, wrapped in despair.

His brother has lost his sight, he can no longer swallow food and his mouth has to be constantly cleaned because he chokes on his own saliva, his limbs are stiff and fentanyl patches are not enough to withstand the pain. relieve

His suffering is becoming more and more intolerable and the fact that he is completely aware of his physical degradation makes it unbearable.

“He gets anxiety attacks due to his illness, he doesn't want to live artificially and there is no solution for his pain,” her sister emphasizes.

On January 22, he met the legal deadline to be assigned a consulting doctor, a doctor he has been waiting for since the 12th of that same month, after starting the procedures for the third time to fulfill his right to a dignified death.

It is the last time interval established in the law that has been violated in a process full of obstacles since he requested euthanasia for the first time on June 26, 2022, after José tried to take his own life on two occasions.

Then, his family doctor declared himself an objector and they had to go to Manzanilla, more than an hour by car from Huelva to get another doctor to agree to perform the medical check-ups.

“Everything went wrong from the first moment, because, although that doctor was not on the register of objectors, he told my mother that if he had seen the movie The

Sea Inside

[about the death of Ramón Sampedro, the first Spaniard to request the euthanasia] and that that was murder.”

All the reports that the health worker wrote were unfavorable.

“There were many irregularities, a lot of documentation was missing,” says Sandra.

“For us, every little step we take in fulfilling the rights that we have recognized is like a victory, and the last handbrake that they have put on us is being a torment,” Sandra summarizes.

That last obstacle has become a wall for her that he now considers insurmountable.

Until this Tuesday, she believed that she could save Juan Ramón Jiménez's decision that a neurologist be the one to assume the functions of consulting doctor, because the law that regulates euthanasia does not require that a specific specialist must be the one who performs that function.

Anyone can be, even though the health center has insisted that he be a neurologist.

But the confirmation that all the trained doctors at the center are objectors has become a burden that has ended up sinking their diminished hopes of completing the process successfully.

José Díaz, requesting euthanasia, and his sister Sandra.PACO PUENTES


The family appealed to the administrative court against the guarantee commission's decision not to declare him fit and lost.

Faced with the possibility of spending more time - which José does not want to spend - on resources, they decided to start the euthanasia procedures again.

They were starting from scratch, but with the experience of everything that had failed on the first attempt.

For this reason, on this second occasion, Sandra went to DMD for advice, she changed her brother's health center to find a responsible doctor who was not an objector, and she herself, early in the morning, when she left work on her night shift, He began to learn the law.

“You have to have a dignified life, but also a dignified death.”

When Sandra heard these words from her brother's new family doctor, she was excited.

“A gap of hope was opening up for us again,” she explains, because she had found a responsible doctor who was not an objector.

He launched the process on December 18, 2023. However, on that second occasion he encountered two problems: the lack of an appointment to make the living will, due to a lack of personnel in the Junta de Andalucía and doubts about nationality. his brother's Spanish, which, apparently, was not well accredited.

Although a copy of the ID was attached, they were told that the process had to be started again.

José's third attempt to achieve euthanasia began on December 28.

Sandra has been behind the health center to warn them that the deadlines were expiring and that they had to continue moving forward in the process.

“I haven't stopped going to the consultation to explain to them that they had to issue the different reports,” she remembers.

At this time, and after drawing attention through the media, including this newspaper, they also managed to register their advance living directive just a few weeks ago.

On January 12, the consulting physician's request was submitted, indicating that he had to be a neurologist, when he could be any physician.

More than a month later, he is told that everyone, including that neurologist, is an objector.

34 euthanasias in Andalusia in 2023

“José has been requesting euthanasia since the summer of 2022, he has been through blocking objectors, lack of professionalism, lack of respect, he has gone to court and continues to fight, but what they are putting him through is intolerable,” summarizes Camps.

Throughout 2023, 56 euthanasia requests were submitted in Andalusia, according to data provided by the Ministry of Health, of which 40 have led to the opening of a file by the Guarantee and Evaluation Commission.

In 34 of them the process went to the end and in the rest the applicants died earlier.

“During these two and a half years of the law being in effect, the most widespread obstacle has been the excessive and unjustified extension of the process deadlines.

Of the 25 days that could last from the first request until euthanasia is authorized, the most common thing is that it lasts more than 50," says Eva.

“In the context of extreme weakness and suffering in which most of these requests occur, a significant percentage ends in the person dying before completing it,” she emphasizes.

Sandra resists her brother being part of that last statistic and continues to strive to obtain victories along the way so that her brother can achieve peace, which has become a constant battle to fulfill the rights recognized by the law.

She is not willing to wait any longer.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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