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First person without terminal illness euthanized in Colombia


Shutterstock | RaulNunez

John Burger - published on 01/10/22

60-year-old man suffering from pulmonary disease wins legal battle.
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Twenty-five years after Colombia decriminalized euthanasia, a man with no terminal illness has been legally euthanized.

Victor Escobar, a 60-year-old man with a condition said to greatly limit his “quality of life,” won a legal battle to be put to death Friday. Escobar suffered from a number of conditions, including end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“We reached the goal for patients like me, who aren’t terminal but degenerative, to win this battle, a battle that opens the doors for the other patients who come after me and who right now want a dignified death,” Escobar, 60, said in a video message issued by his lawyer, Luis Giraldo. Escobar died in a clinic in Cali. 

Escobar had to fight opposition from doctors, clinics and courts. In July, the country’s Constitutional Court allowed euthanasia to be applied to people who suffer intense physical or psychological suffering due to a grave and incurable disease, even if they are not yet near death, the Associated Press reported.

The Catholic Church in Colombia at that time issued a statement saying that “any action or omission with the intention of provoking death to overcome pain constitutes homicide.”

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