Judge authorizes euthanasia of Colombian woman who has no terminal illness | World

Sepúlveda is 51 years old and has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). She went to court after a clinic refused to euthanize on the eve of the procedure, which should have taken place on the 10th.

According to the decision, the clinic now has 48 hours to agree with the patient “the day and time when euthanasia will be performed, as long as she is willing to practice”.

Understand in the video below what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is:

Specialist asks questions about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Specialist asks questions about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

The Laboratory for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (DescLAB), which provides legal advice to Sepúlveda, said in a note that “the judge acknowledged that IPS Incodol [clínica que se recusou a fazer a eutanásia] violated the fundamental rights to die with dignity, to a dignified life and to the free development of the personality and human dignity of Martha Sepúlveda”.

As this is a lower court decision, the medical center can appeal.

Euthanasia (or assisted death) has been legal in Colombia since 1997. The country was the first in South America to legalize the procedure, which was only valid for patients who had terminal illnesses – and as a way of shortening the suffering of the person in an already irreversible situation, if that were their decision.

But Sepúlveda relied on a recent decision by the Constitutional Court — equivalent to the Supreme Court (STF) in Brazil — to opt for the procedure. In July, the court approved by 6 votes to 3 the extension of access to euthanasia for people who are not terminally ill..

The decision extends euthanasia “whenever the patient suffers from intense physical or mental suffering, resulting from bodily injury or serious illness without cure”.

By suspending euthanasia, the clinic said its decision was supported by the country’s Ministry of Health, which calls for the creation of a committee to endorse this type of procedure, with a group of experts responsible for reviewing the procedures.

“After a meeting, in which we reviewed and broadly analyzed Martha Liria Sepúlveda’s request, we unanimously decided to cancel the euthanasia procedure, scheduled for October 10, 2021,” said the institution.

“Based on updated reports of her health status and the patient’s evolution, we defined that the criteria for terminal illness that had been determined by a first committee were not met,” said the clinic.

Martha Sepúlveda and her son Federico talk to Colombian TV: she decided to euthanize because she suffers from the pain and loss of movement caused by ALS — Photo: Federico Redondo Sepúlveda/Reprodução Twitter

In an interview with Colombian TV channel Caracol, Sepúlveda reported feeling pain and having lost the movement of her legs, which hinders her in daily life (See below for an infographic about ALS).

“I’m a Catholic person, I consider myself someone who believes a lot in God. But, I repeat, God doesn’t want to see me suffer and I believe he doesn’t want to see anyone suffer. No parent wants to see their children suffer,” said the Colombian.

“For me, death is a rest.”

Her decision meets a lot of resistance in the Catholic Church, which tends to take a stand against euthanasia. Asked by Colombian TV about how she handles this in front of priests, she answers:

“The answer is the same: I do it because I’m suffering and because I believe in a God who doesn’t want to see me like this. For me, God is allowing me to. So if he likes me, he doesn’t like to see me in this situation.”

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — Photo: Infographics: Karina Almeida/G1

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