A Colombian woman suffering from a degenerative disease is set to become the first patient to be euthanised in Colombia without a terminal illness diagnosis.
Martha Sepulveda, 51, is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease (MND) which, despite severely shortening life expectancy, is not classified as a terminal illness.
Martha has been suffering from MND, a neurodegenerative disease that results in the loss of motor neurons that control voluntary muscle movements, for the past three years.
Martha 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 new site La Fm reports that she was given an appointment for the procedure on Sunday, 10th October.
MND has left Martha unable to walk unassisted and her ability to carry out basic tasks has become extremely difficult.
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.”
She added: “No father wants to see his children suffer.”
She said that everyone has supported her in making the decision apart from her mother.
Martha said: “My mother is 83 years old, she is very lucid, I think it is because of the religious issue that she thinks that way.”
The Catholic Church has often voiced its opposition to euthanasia on the basis that all human life is sacred and therefore acts such as euthanasia and abortion go against the will of God.
Martha said in the interview that she has been enjoying the last few days of her life by spending time with her friends and family.
Fredrico, her son, also supports her decision, which Martha says means a huge amount to her as she understands what a difficult time it is for him and the rest of her family.
Fredrico, whose surname was not reported, said: “I saw it as the greatest act of love that I have ever done 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.”
He added: “Now I am focused on making her happy, on making her laugh, on recollecting a little and making sure that her stay on Earth, what she has left, is a little more enjoyable.”
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.