Oct 21, 2021 3 mins, 41 secs
No device, invasive or not, and no operation of nature calms this feeling of suffocation," Ostropolsky, 72, said amid snorts and fatigue.

Ostropolsky said the lack of such a law is an offense to the human condition, because he and many other people with serious illnesses sooner or later will be reduced to states of “permanent pain and without hope of relief or improvement.”.

The recent case in Colombia of Martha Sepúlveda Campo, another ALS sufferer whose euthanasia procedure was canceled at the last minute — has renewed the debate in Latin America.

People with incurable diseases like Ostropolsky and Sepúlveda say they love life but warn that their existences are sinking into a spiral of limitations that robs them of dignity and exposes them to excruciating pain.  .

Not to do so is to prolong the suffering that accompanies a very unjust agony,” Ostropolsky said.

Adriana González, an attorney in the country’s first legal euthanasia case, said the last-minute cancellation was “an act of torture.”.

It is known as the Alfonso Law, in homage to Alfonso Oliva, 36, who died in 2019 and who, like Ostropolsky and Sepúlveda, suffered from ALS.

Carlos Soriano, a physician and bioethicist, has worked in intensive care wards where he has seen it all — from amazing cures on the edge of rational explanation to slow recoveries and failed suicides by people who will do anything to try to end their suffering.

“The absence of a euthanasia law pushes many patients into a corner, between a rock and a hard place, so they buy a gun, a box of phenobarbital or some ant poison, and the worst thing is that sometimes they are left alive with much more terrible suffering,” Soriano said in a categorical tone.

But when he woke up he was living this cruel nightmare with a terrible existential suffering,” said Soriano, who recalled that after he met Oliva, he embraced his relatives and burst into sobs.

When Soriano asked him what he missed most, Oliva didn’t hesitate and said eating.

But it is precisely the people who don’t live through that who decide whether these patients can decide how to die.

It’s crazy,” Soriano said.

It is like a mantra that Soriano, who advises the legislation’s team, also remembers.

The bill, which was introduced in 2014 by center-left lawmakers, would establish a legal framework for terminally ill patients to decide when their lives will end.

In 2008, the Advance Directive Law was passed in the state of Mexico City, allowing people to decide, in the case of terminal illness, whether to continue with medical treatments that prolong their lives (such as respirators, artificial feeding, operations and other methods).

A 2016 survey by the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity found that 68 percent of adults who were surveyed in Mexico agreed that people with painful illnesses and in terminal phases should be able to decide whether they want to die.

In addition, a survey by the Public Opinion Center of the Universidad del Valle de México last year found that 72 percent of people believe euthanasia should be legalized.

“I am aware that I have the possibility of losing the capacity to decide from one moment to the next, and it is clear to me that there are conditions in which I would not want to live, even if I am no longer aware of it or if I am completely unconscious in a vegetative state,” she said.

I want to be remembered like this,” Estrada said in an interview shortly after the decision authorizing her euthanasia procedure.

In the meantime, Estrada, like many other patients in Latin America, continues to wait.

A survey by the Uruguayan Medical Union in May 2020 found that 82 percent of people are in favor of euthanasia and 62 percent are in favor of assisted suicide

Soriano said, “Religion should be respected as any other type of belief, but it cannot be the only argument, because what do we do with those Catholics who want to die with dignity or with atheists or people of other religions who do not agree that life belongs to God and that only God can take it away?” 

While the debates continue, patients like Ostropolsky spend their days making the most of the pleasures they can enjoy, such as the aroma of a favorite dish or the delicate harmony of a musical movement

Ostropolsky interrupted her, laughing, and said: “Not yet, daughter


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