The Colombian woman who had made her peace with death and was preparing to become the country’s first non-terminal patient to be euthanised has had her appointment cancelled at the last moment.
An Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee decide to cancel 51-year-old Martha Sepulveda’s historic euthanasia appointment just hours before it was expected to take place on Sunday, 10th October.
Martha has been suffering from Motor neurone disease (MND), a neurodegenerative disease that results in the loss of motor neurons that control voluntary muscle movements, for the past three years.
She requested euthanasia on 27th July just four days after the Court gave the green light to access the right to euthanasia to people who suffer “intense physical or mental suffering, stemming from bodily injury or serious and incurable disease”.
The request was successful and she had been preparing for her appointment on Sunday by enjoying her last few days with her friends and family.
She told Caracol Television last week: “I am totally calm. I am a Catholic, I consider myself a strong believer in God, but, I repeat, God does not want to see me suffer and I believe that he doesn’t want anyone to.”
Her son, Frederico, said supporting her mother’s decision was “The greatest act of love that I have ever made in my life because I need my mother, I want her with me, almost in any condition, but I know that she is no longer living but merely surviving.”
Martha and her family have spent the last week making the best of what they believed was their last few days together.
However, despite giving the green light, for reasons that are not yet clear the Colombian Institute of Pain (Incodol) decide to review Martha’s case.
An Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee reviewed Martha’s ‘right to die’ and concluded unanimously to cancel the procedure to die with dignity through euthanasia.
The new site El Universo says that the committee maintains the right to review cases in order to detect any situational changes.
The committee was not specific about what led them to reveres their position other than the fact that there was a change in “the patient’s health and evolution”.
Martha and her family, who were mostly supportive of her decision, are yet to publicly comment on the announcement.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court decriminalised euthanasia for terminally ill patients in 1997 and in July this year, it was expanded to non-terminal ill patients.
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Story By: Peter Barker, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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