Martha Sepúlveda, the Colombian who was going to access euthanasia last Sunday, announced this Wednesday that it will initiate legal actions against the clinic that finally refused to carry out the practice four days ago.
As detailed by his lawyer Camila Jaramillo in dialogue with Blu Radio, It is a complaint for “cruel and degrading treatment” and the “violation of the right to die with dignity.”
The clinic’s decision was made known on Saturday, when the Colombian Pain Institute (Incodol) said in a statement that it decided to cancel the procedure by “having an updated concept of the patient’s health and evolution” with which “It is defined that the terminality criterion is not met as it had been considered.”
Sepúlveda suffers Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a serious and incurable disease, and She was to become the first Colombian to receive the procedure since the Constitutional Court authorized it in July for patients with non-terminal illnesses.
His case became known last month, when in a Caracol News report he told that he was going to die at 51 years of age. “If it is from the spiritual plane, I am totally calm (…) I will be a coward but I do not want to suffer any more, I am tired. I fight to rest,” said the woman, who added that the certainty of dying gave her “peace of mind.”
Since she was diagnosed, Sepúlveda began to lose strength in her legs and it became increasingly difficult to walk long distances, which worsened her quality of life. Her family said that this woman’s daily life had turned into torment.
Euthanasia in Colombia
Colombia was the first country in Latin America to decriminalize euthanasia, and one of the few in the world where it is legal, after the Constitutional Constitution consecrated in 1997 dignified death as a fundamental right in the event of a terminal illness, when the patient suffers a lot of pain, voluntarily requests it and is performed by a doctor .
The July ruling of the Court, which modifies the “homicide by mercy” of the Penal Code and which previously contemplated penalties of up to 54 months in prison, annuls that first requirement that the person who requests it suffers from a terminal illness and does so motivated due to the barriers that still persist in the country to exercise this right.
Although it has been legal since 1997, this right did not begin to be exercised until 2015 and the procedures still face barriers, such as that it is only performed in certain cities and many medical centers do not know how to act. In addition, the Parliament has blocked for years the bills that seek to regulate the dignified death.
In the country, only 94 euthanasia procedures have been carried out from April 2015 to May 8, 2020, according to the Ministry of Health, which counts the cases since the procedure was allowed, 18 years after the Court in 1997 Constitutional law will establish a dignified death as a fundamental right.
Most of these procedures were performed in Bogotá or in the department of Antioquia, and almost nine out of ten were for people with a cancer-related diagnosis. For every five requests that are made in the country, only two end up being made, according to official data.