Víctor Escobar's right under Colombian law to die with dignity has been put on hold Friday because he is not a terminal patient, it was reported.
Despite a chronic lung disease, diabetes, hypertension and a body paralysis which already mean “too much suffering,” Escobar's health care provider Coomeva EPS has legally challenged the Constitutional Court ruling upholding the people's right to such a decision.
Escobar was to die through euthanasia Oct. 29, but now all he can do is resume his medication, which he had swept aside as the much awaited showdown approached.
The patient explained in a radio interview, during which his difficulty to speak was notorious, Escobar insisted EPS had no concrete reason for him to have been denied euthanasia. He also explained he had decided to seek this last resort due to the increasing suffering he has to put up with every day. Escobar claimed his health care system lacked “the human warmth they should have.”
Although there was no confirmation from EPS, Colombian media speculated that one of the reasons for stalling Escobar's euthanasia could have been a pulmonologist telling him he was fine and that his condition could be improved. Day by day the suffering is becoming more intense, Escobar cried.
Earlier this month, the Colombian Institute of Pain (Incodol) backtracked on the euthanasia previously approved for Martha Sepúlveda, who had already made all the arrangements for her last hours in the company of her loved ones.
Colombia is the only South American country where euthanasia is legal, at least on paper.
The scientific committee of the Imbanaco clinic met Friday morning and decided to deny Escobar the possibility of receiving assisted death, on the grounds that he is not a degenerative patient. The Imbanaco medical center told Víctor that he is a patient who can be improved, that he is not terminal and that, therefore, they cannot continue with the euthanasia process, said the patient's lawyer, Luis Giraldo Montenegro.
Last week a Cali judge had authorized euthanasia for the 60-year-old Escobar. “From my family I found all the support for my decision. I hope that my lawyer, Luis Giraldo Montenegro, will make this procedure a reality,” he said.
Back in July, Colombia's Constitutional Court extended to non-terminal patients the right to euthanasia, which was previously reserved to those with irreversible conditions.