Colombia: Martha Sepúlveda's euthanasia was canceled within hours of the procedure

The euthanasia of Colombian Martha Sepúlveda, which was scheduled for this Sunday at 7 in the morning, was untimely canceled after a review of the case, as reported in a statement by the Colombian Pain Institute, the clinical center where it was to be performed.

The woman was to be the first person to receive the procedure in Colombia without having a terminal illness. According to the statement, the Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee for the Right to Die with Dignity “concluded unanimously to cancel the procedure” by concluding that “The termination criterion is not met as it had been considered in the first committee” who evaluated your case.

Since she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a serious and incurable disease, her family said that the life of this 51-year-old woman had been transformed into torment.

In his last interview on Caracol TV, Sepúlveda had said: “I am a Catholic person, I consider myself a very, very believer. But God does not want to see me suffer. With lateral sclerosis in the state that I have it, the best thing that can happen to me is that I go to rest. “

In Colombia, euthanasia was decriminalized in 1997, but only became law in 2015. Since then, 157 procedures have been carried out. Last July, the country’s Constitutional Court extended the right to a dignified death to those who suffer “intense physical or mental suffering” due to an incurable injury or illness. The case of Martha Sepúlveda was to become the first case in which euthanasia is authorized in a patient who does not have a terminal illness.

Full statement

The Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee for the right to die with dignity through euthanasia of the Colombian Institute of Pain SAS, according to a meeting of October 8 of this year, in which the request for the Mrs. Martha Liria Sepúlveda, unanimously concluded to cancel the procedure to die with dignity through euthanasia, scheduled for October 10, 2021.

The cancellation decision is based on numeral 26.6 of article 26 of Resolution 971 of 2021 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, which assigns the Committee within its functions to review the application process and the complete euthanasia procedure, to in order to detect any situation that affects its development. That is why, by having an updated concept of the patient’s health and evolution, it is defined that the termination criterion is not met, as had been considered in the first committee.

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