Active Euthanasia Case Study

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Coverage: 1971-2014 (Vol. 1, No. 1 - Vol. 44, No. 6)

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ISSN: 00930334

EISSN: 1552146X

Subjects: Medicine & Allied Health, Health Policy

Collections: Arts & Sciences VII Collection, JSTOR Essential Collection

A 14-year-old Chilean girl suffering from terminal cystic fibrosis is asking her country's president for permission to end her life.

Valentina Maureira, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby, recently published an emotional self-shot video on her Facebook page pleading for a meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

“My name is Valentina Maureira, I am fourteen and I suffer from cystic fibrosis,” the teenager says in the video, which she filmed with a cellphone in her hospital room. “I need to speak urgently with the president because I am tired of living with this disease, and she can authorize an injection that will allow me to sleep forever.” The video, posted on February 2015, has gone viral on YouTube.

A Chilean government spokesman said that the nation's laws, which prevent assisted suicide, also prevent the president from granting Valentina's request. But the teenager's desperate plea has moved the South American nation of 20 million. #ValentinaMoureira became the top trending topic on Chilean Twitter. The girl's video has also sparked a broader conversation about whether euthanasia should be legalized in the largely Catholic nation.

President Bachelet, who is also a pediatrician, eventually made an hour long visit to see Valentina.

Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease with no cure, severely debilitates patients by clogging their lungs and organs with thick layers of mucus. Valentina, who weighs 77 pounds, relies on breathing machines and is fed through a tube. Her plea for euthanasia came after the death of another cystic fibrosis patient at her hospital a month ago.

Source 1, Source 2

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