A woman suffering from a non-terminal degenerative disease has won the right to die for the second time in a lengthy euthanasia battle after she was first granted the right only to have it blocked.
The Colombian court system has now reversed its decision on the historic non-terminal patient euthanasia case, calling for the appointment to go ahead after it was first granted before being blocked the first time.
Martha Sepulveda, 51, who suffers from motor neurone disease (MND) saw her historic euthanasia appointment cancelled by court order just hours before it was expected to take place on Sunday, 10th October.
The case was sent back to court number 20 in the city of Medellin, Colombia, where a judge ruled yesterday, 27th October, that the case for her euthanasia is legally sound and must go ahead as initially planned.
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 Colombia gave the green light for the right of people who suffer “intense physical or mental suffering, stemming from bodily injury or serious and incurable disease” to access euthanasia.
The request was successful and she had been preparing for her appointment on 10th October by enjoying her last few days with her friends and family, but it was abruptly cancelled.
The court cancelled the procedure on the grounds that she could live for over six more months with her condition.
The court in Medellin then threw out this appeal and said that the procedure is within Martha’s constitutional rights.
Although the judge gave the go-ahead for the appointment, Martha is still not in the clear, as the case could once again be appealed within the next three days.
Prior to her appointment on 10th October, Martha told Caracol Television: “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, Federico, said supporting his 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.”
The family has not publicly commented since the first appointment was cancelled.
If the next three days pass without the case being appealed, Martha is expected to become the country’s first-ever non-terminal patient to be euthanised.
A date for the appointment has not yet been made public.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court decriminalised euthanasia for terminally ill patients in 1997 and in July this year, it was expanded to non-terminally ill patients.