On the eve of his trip to Switzerland, last June, Fernando Cuesta sent a message to María José Álvarez, president of the Association of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ELA Principality): "I'm leaving tomorrow," he said. And he added that they could spend when they wanted to pick up the electric wheelchair that this group of patients had provided him when he moved to Gijón, about a year ago. Then he set course for what he had been planning for some time, almost since he was diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease and irreversible: drink a deadly cocktail to end your agony.
Before turning 66, this Gijon industrial engineer traveled to Switzerland to fulfill his will to undergo a assisted suicide. Not before recording an interview in Gijón, on condition that it was not published until after his death. It was "just what he wanted: to give him visibility, all he asked for." Knowing that his testimony - which yesterday unveiled the regional TPA chain - was going to have "a great impact", he left it as a legacy to contribute to the open debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide in Spain, where these practices are not legalized
Fernando Cuesta arrived in Asturias at the end of last summer. Before the change of city, I had already contacted ELA Principality. And he had become a partner to be able to receive rehabilitation services at the Gijón center in Cocemfe. "He brought it very planned from Madrid," explains María José Álvarez, to whom he confided that he had recorded his testimony: "The day it is issued, I will no longer be here"he said. In Madrid he had his life, with his own company and his ex-wife, Mamen de Pablo, and his two children, Belén and Francisco José, now living abroad and dedicated to health professions. The three accompanied him in Your last trip.
Although based in Madrid, the family did not lose ties with Gijón, a city to which Fernando Cuesta's mother traveled every time she gave birth to a son, including him. In a Gijon assistance center, he wanted to spend his last months, receiving hospital care to alleviate the effects of ALS that advanced in his body. Precisely in those months in the Asturian city, which he came to have less difficulties in his life in a wheelchair than in Madrid, he left the memory of a "super nice" person, who provoked emotion in his determined departure.
He did not hide his fear of "possible legal actions" by Spanish legislation, so he wanted to leave everything well tied before his departure in Switzerland, with all the documentation in order and in accordance with the Swiss regulations. There he was given a cocktail that he himself had to drink, "with full mental faculties."
Everything was calculated, including his last testimony. In his words to the TPA he makes his intention clear. Ask politicians to "for once they are thinking about citizens, that once and for all admit that not everyone has a life expectancy. "And he adds:" It does not serve the example that 'I have a friend who is very bad and has a desire to live tremendously'. Hey, euthanasia is not mandatory. May he live, but let us die with dignity. "At the end of this sentence, his eyes flooded with emotion, he chokes and coughs.
At the time of the interview, just two weeks before your trip to Switzerland, already I had lost a lot of mobility, although he kept minimally that of his right hand, which served him to take the poison that was facilitated. This is how he narrated his situation: "Sure, I get up thinking about what more movement I am going to stop doing. The right hand is already having enough problems, the left is totally impossible to move. As evolution tells me that it is this, what normal would be a death from suffocation. I have obviously chosen that I don't want to take that kind of life to the end. "
The television document makes clear the full support of their children and their ex-wife. "He didn't want to be a prisoner or his body or anything", says his ex-partner." My father has always been a person of strong, clear, very analytical decisions, who always sees pros and cons. and once he made the decision we knew that he had really valued everything, "says his daughter Belén, who, curiously, while the testimony that his father left as a public legacy came to light, illuminated in Holland who would be two new grandchildren in the life of Fernando Cuesta.
Fernando Cuesta, who until he could enjoy passions such as the flight without a motor, skiing or aeromodelling, returned to his native Asturias to live his last months before his final departure. He died in Zurich on June 5 through assisted suicide. And as a legacy he left a testimony with national echoes in the middle of an already open social debate.
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