Victor Escobar Becomes First Person in Colombia Without Terminal Illness to Die by Legal Euthanasia
Colombian Victor Escobar was the first person in Colombia without any terminal illness to die legally from euthanasia, his lawyer said.
In a video message sent to media by his lawyer Luis Giraldo, Escobar said, "we reached the goal for patients like me, who aren't terminal but degenerative, to win this battle," NBC News reported.
The 60-year-old Colombian noted that this battle "opens the doors for the other patients who come after me and who right now want a dignified death."
According to his lawyer, Escobar has suffered from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a number of other conditions. Escobar's procedure took place on Friday in a clinic in Cali, the capital city of Colombia's Valle del Cauca province.
The Colombian man noted that he is not saying goodbye, but rather "see you later." Escobar had fought for his right to euthanasia against doctors, clinics, and courts opposing it for two years.
Last year, the Constitutional Court recognized the procedure should be available for others besides the terminally ill.
Escobar described the injection of euthanasia as a "very tranquil death," according to a Click Orlando report. His family has declined to reveal the clinic's name where the euthanasia took place.
Another Person Died By Euthanasia in Colombia
Aside from Victor Escobar, a 51-year-old Colombian woman also died by euthanasia on Saturday after winning her legal fight to exercise the right.
Martha Sepúlveda planned to become the first person in Colombia without a terminal prognosis to die by legally authorized euthanasia, Washington Post reported.
However, less than two days before she planned to die last October, a medical committee determined she no longer met the conditions and canceled the procedure. Reports said a judge eventually cleared the way for her to move forward.
In a statement, Sepúlveda's lawyers' said that the mother and devout Catholic died based on her idea of autonomy and dignity. They noted that the procedure was carried out in the city of Medellín without any obstacles.
The Colombian woman suffered from the progressive neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
She was diagnosed in November 2018 and started to lose control of the muscles in her legs. Her family and lawyers said that euthanasia offered her an escape from more suffering.
Sepúlveda's lawyers noted that the fight to take control over the end of life continues and will not end until Colombians can access assisted medical death according to their will.
Sepúlveda earlier spoke of her decision and her Catholic faith. She said that she knows God is the owner of life, but "God doesn't want to see me suffer."
The judge from Medellín, who ruled Sepúlveda's entitlement to die by euthanasia, noted that patients who endure physical or mental suffering are legally allowed to access the procedure despite their prognosis not being terminal.
Euthanasia in Colombia
Colombia made euthanasia legal in 1997 for those considered to have fewer than six months to live. The legislature has not formally followed the court's lead by explicitly authorizing it, and some remain deeply opposing the matter.
In a statement in July, the Catholic Church noted that any "action or omission with the intention of provoking death to overcome pain constitutes homicide."
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: First Colombian Euthanized Without a Terminal Condition - From CGTN America
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