Man of 79 becomes first in Colombia to be euthanised

Bogota, July 4 (IANS) Ovidio Gonzalez, 79, who was suffering from a painful mouth cancer that had disfigured him, became has the first person submitted to euthanasia in Colombia, his family said.

His son, prominent editorial cartoonist Julio Cesar Gonzalez, known as “Matador”, told his newspaper, El Tiempo, that his father was given the procedure on Friday “in compliance with the ethical and medical standards required by the case”, Spanish news agency Efe reported

This Thursday, a committee of experts at the clinic treating Gonzalez in the central city of Pereira finally authorised his euthanasia, after canceling the procedure the week before some 15 minutes before it was supposed to start.

Matador explained the cancellation last Thursday to several media, saying that a doctor at the clinic “alleged that to provide him with his right, the patient had to be completely prostrate, and that the way he is, he can live longer”.

He also said the cancer had not metastasised to other organs, so it was not terminal even though it caused so much pain that it could not be treated without pain-killers.

The cartoonist launched a campaign in the media to report his father’s situation and call for support in applying for the procedure.

Considering the controversy sparked by the case, the Colombian health ministry on Tuesday urged medical institutions and professionals to follow the procedures established to provide “an early death for highly humanitarian reasons”.

In El Tiempo’s Tuesday edition, Matador published a cartoon in which his father is seen carrying two suitcases and telling Death that he’s “dying to travel”.

The health ministry regulated the use of euthanasia on April 20 in accordance with a ruling by the Constitutional Court.

 

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