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Euthanasia in Colombia: what you need to know – Health

The euthanasia It is an issue that generates controversy and as a result of the situation arising from the cancellation of this procedure to the patient Martha Sepúlveda, who suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), there are questions that are once again on the table.

(Of your interest: Court ruling on euthanasia does not yet have legal effects: Minsalud)

In this sense, EL TIEMPO spoke with Luz Marina Cano, an expert in palliative care and a Ph.D. in ‘complex thinking’, who solves the ten most common questions that come to this medium on this topic.

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What is euthanasia?

Act of intentionally causing the death of a person suffering from an incurable disease to avoid suffering caused by the disease, through the infusion of controlled medications at high doses. His real name is medically assisted death.

Is it protected by Colombian law?

Yes. Mercy homicide was decriminalized in 1997 through Sentence C-970, making it a legally protected act.

What changes has this legislation had?

Several. In fact, there are other sentences that have established jurisprudence because Congress has not regulated. The last one was in Sentence C-233 in which the Constitutional Court expands the coverage of those who can agree to request euthanasia. It included people with chronic, advanced and incurable diseases that are not necessarily in imminent death.

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Can someone other than the patient request euthanasia?

No. It can only be requested by the patient in full use of their mental faculties. It is a request mediated exclusively by the will of the people.

Who is the request for euthanasia delivered to?

To the attending physician.

Does euthanasia have any process or is it only done by giving the request to the doctor?

The request has a process that is made through an in-hospital ethics committee, which corroborates the patient’s medical history, evaluates his mental state, deliberates and delivers the answer to the patient.

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Are all requests for euthanasia carried out?

No.

Is euthanasia the same as palliative care?

No. Euthanasia is a right that the patient has to end his life. Palliative care is a holistic and interdisciplinary care and support system for the control of physical, psychosocial, spiritual symptoms and relief of suffering for a peaceful and calm death. Focused on the patient, but also accompanies the family in the development of anticipated grief.

Can a patient in palliative care request euthanasia?

Yes.

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Who Provides Palliative Care?

Palliative care is regulated by Law 1733. Every health service provider must have an interdisciplinary team to optimally provide this care until the last day of life.

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