Eighteen years ago, a decision taken by the Columbian constitutional court made euthanasia a “constitutional right”. However, the ministerial decree coming into force on application of this right only dates from April 2015.
In this context, Ovidio Gonzalez, suffering from incurable throat cancer, requested assisted suicide several weeks ago. Hospital physicians and administrators were opposed to this but they had to give way to the decree of the Ministry of Health.
Prior to the publication of this decree, “assisted suicides took place in Columbian patient residences and the doctors carrying out such procedures were operating in a legal vacuum”.