🇬🇧 In Colombia euthanasia was decriminalised in 1997, but it became law only in 2015.
This below may be the first case of active euthanasia in the country.
The story concerns a 51-year-old woman, Martha Liria Sepúlveda Campo, who decided to die and with whom the judges of the Supreme Court of Colombia, at first, had agreed, even establishing the date of the lethal injection: last 10 October 2021, 7 am.
The woman, from Medellìn, suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), although not in the terminal phase (the disease was diagnosed in 2018), decided to request euthanasia.
Martha represents the first case in Colombia of a still healthy person who chooses to die in order not to suffer in the future, who therefore chooses to resort to active euthanasia. However, the Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee cancelled the planned euthanasia procedure on Saturday 9 October.
A team of doctors reviewed and re-analysed the request and unanimously concluded to cancel the procedure: “The cancellation decision is based on number 26.6 of article 26 of resolution 971 of 2021 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, which assigns to the committee, as part of its functions, the revision of the request process and the entire euthanasia procedure, in order to detect any situation affecting its development. For this reason, having an update of the state of health and evolution of the patient, it is defined that the terminality criterion is not satisfied as it was considered in the first commission”.
On 23 July 2021, the president of the Constitutional Court, Antonio José Lizarazo, announced that euthanasia in Colombia would not only apply to people who had a terminal illness, but also to patients who suffered from intense physical or psychological suffering, resulting from a serious and incurable injury or illness.
On 6 October, through an official statement, the Episcopal Conference of Colombia asked Martha Sepúlveda to rethink her decision because “God always accompanies us”. “Marta, I invite you to calmly reflect on your decision; hopefully, if circumstances permit, away from the harassment of the media, who have not hesitated to take your pain and that of your family, to make a sort of propaganda of the euthanasia in a country profoundly marked by violence”, said Monsignor Francisco Antonio Ceballos Escobar, president of the Episcopal Commission for the promotion and defense of life.
However, death can never be the therapeutic response to pain and suffering.