Sunday, June 4, 2023

Euthanasia: Experts address the right to decide about one’s life in the face of incurable diseases

The recent death of human rights activist Cecilia Haidar, who suffered from a terminal illness and fought for years for the right to die with dignity, has revived the debate on the need for a euthanasia law in Chile. Experts from UD Chile’s Faculties of Medicine, Law and Philosophy agree on the urgency of a regulatory framework that allows people to make decisions about their own lives in situations of extreme suffering and incurable diseases.

The departure of human rights defender, Cecilia Haider, has revived debate in the country about our right to decide about our own lives and the need for a euthanasia law, which allows patients with terminal illnesses or extreme suffering to be euthanized. A dignified death free from pain.

Chile is one of the few countries in the world where euthanasia is completely banned. To move forward in this matter, the government announced that it would give urgency to a bill that establishes the right to euthanasia, regulates the conditions of its exercise, and amends the penal code accordingly (Bulletin No. 11745- 11). Entered in 2018, approved by the Chamber of Deputies and waiting to be tabled in the Senate today. “We are committed to palliative care and the right to a dignified death,” said President Gabriel Boric at the 2022 Public Account.

For Professor Miguel Cotto, an academic at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile, who has been working on the issue for decades and has presented in Congress on the matter, he says “we are taking too long.” Along these lines, he says, “I emphasize what I said years ago that euthanasia doesn’t matter and that certain conditions should be placed on it. In other words, euthanasia should happen, but There must be some pre-regulation – apart from the technical regulation, which comes after the law – it would be necessary to first discuss who can choose when euthanasia is accepted in principle and that for me means meeting certain conditions “.

“First, being in a physical state, not a mental one, of suffering that cannot be alleviated, or cannot be alleviated. In other words, substituting euthanasia for palliative treatment is not necessarily useful. You can also refuse palliative treatment, which is no joke. So, what most advanced countries do is they give you a choice: if you want to enter palliative care or euthanasia. If you want to enter palliative care That doesn’t mean you can’t get euthanasia done there later. But, in any case, the suffering must be intolerable,” Dr. Cotto says.

In addition, there should be a repeated and insistent declaration that euthanasia is wanted and should be authorized straightaway, as it is an urgent situation and should be urgently represented in the regulations, he affirms. “Because it is proposed that committees be formed in different parts of the country, no more. Euthanasia has to be proactive, fast, timely, not ‘in a fortnight we’ll see your case’, the person is suffering,” says the academic from the Faculty of Medicine.

For Raul Villaroel, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Chile, the discussion about euthanasia confronts us with a situation that we have never properly managed, but that we have neglected as a society. Tried to do. “The criterion of being able to face death was one that was established on the basis of religious beliefs. But as society becomes more and more secular and pluralistic in terms of choices and beliefs, the values ​​of respect There appears the possibility of claiming the right to die with, as it has been called, and which consists in a certain way, in giving way to a legal initiative that allows the dying person to be free, voluntary and independent at the end of his life. The sovereign allows to pronounce the way. Understanding that a dignified death would be the right of the people”, explains Professor Villaroel.

Meanwhile, in the legal field, the U.K. Antonio Bascuan, an academic in the criminology department of de Chile’s law school, says the first priority is to provide health benefits that prevent death, “to those people who want to be healed and live, which we reasonably believe is the case.” Everyone has a desire as a general rule.” The second, he adds, is to provide palliative care to a terminally ill person who wishes to prolong their life. The third, meanwhile, is to allow the seriously ill and those affected by a severe and irreversible disability to make decisions about their death, to allow third parties to advise and assist them, and to guarantee access to lethal intervention. have to give.

And fourth, finally, “reduces the abetment, aid and omission of suicide usually executed by the free and mature judgment of that person”, says Professor Baskunan.

What does it take to move on?

Internationally, euthanasia is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Colombia, Luxembourg, Canada and some states in the United States, where patients have the right to request assisted dying under certain conditions. Portugal joined in this week, decriminalizing the medical procedure.

“Now, the rejection of euthanasia is completely counter-culture. In all the countries and states that are discussing it, arguments are being made in favor of it, they have just approved it in Portugal. This is where we all going, and this complete denial or saying that it is not necessary to have palliative systems is wrong for several reasons: among others, because we do not have a good palliative system, which is compounded by a poor health system. And, besides, where they keep them, like in Belgium, for example, people prefer euthanasia,” Dr. Cotto says.

Academicians of the Faculty of Medicine also recall that the National Bioethics Commission was approved more than a decade ago, and it still does not exist. “It would be a means in which to reveal not only the political but also the people. It seems they don’t want us to have this,” says the academic.

The Dean of Philosophy, meanwhile, mentions that to some extent the Byzantine discussion is recent, because all the conditions are in place so that, eventually, a legal rule can be established that allows it, discussing “a range of interests”. is stable with respect to” that has been dominant and that has basically to do with the beliefs held by groups of people in this society, which we may also consider to be minorities. When there is a sort of majority aspiration because there is a law in this regard”, comment.

Professor Villaroel concludes that, in any case, the option of a dignified death cannot be ruled out. “Under no circumstances, under any conviction, can it be removed from the discussion table at this time, and it is the duty of any country to legislate in this regard, perhaps supplementing it with other precedents.” do, along with other options, such as palliative medicine, but not only that, nor prevent people from being able to make decisions freely about their lives”.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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