Emilia’s suicide uncovers another case of delay with euthanasia


A health worker shakes hands with a hospitalized in serious condition, in a file image.  |  THE NEWSPAPER

A health worker shakes hands with a hospitalized in serious condition, in a file image. | THE NEWSPAPER

The Right to Die with Dignity association in Aragon (DMD) is clear that Emilia’s case should not be repeated, however, they have already detected another that “begins to look too much”, as acknowledged this Wednesday by the president of the group, José Luis Trasobares, after a meeting with representatives of the Department of Health. The counselor was present for only a few minutes because she attended the debate on the state of the community. This meeting was planned before the suicide of the 83-year-old woman from Zaragoza, after four months of waiting to obtain a response to her request for euthanasia by your Primary Care physician. Nor had the administration provided a second physician after the doctor accepted conscientious objection.

The association is aware of the processing of five petitionsTherefore, they consider that “there is no tsunami and they can all be cared for.” Of them – one is Emilia’s, the only one with a chronic disease because the rest have to do with degenerative diseases or cancers – three are developing “normally”, according to Trasobares, and even one “the guarantee commission has already passed and control and euthanasia is pending. “And there is a room that” begins to look too much “to that of the deceased, because it is paralyzed” at the first level. “Also the doctor who has to attend the case and process it” does not he doesn’t even want to take the paper “and, as in the 83-year-old woman, a replacement must be appointed and this is where” there is a risk of jamming. ” It is this case that “is several days behind on the calendar that he had to keep.”

For this reason, the association considers that the “fundamental problem is in the gateway for applications “, since “the fact that a doctor is an objector does not exempt them from their obligation to initiate the request” because there will already be other instances that will take care of it going ahead or being paralyzed.

In this sense, Trasobares insists that a doctor of Primary care he has to “assume his administrative function” and “be receptive to the wishes and needs of his patients. Before the Euthanasia Law” is the Law of Autonomy of the patient “, for which this “is not a body on which the doctor acts”.

A guarantee process for all

The procedure to be followed by the citizen who wishes to access the provision of euthanasia is regulated by national law, and is especially guaranteeing both for citizens and for the professionals themselves, who can exercise their right to conscientious objection.

The user who wants to request the provision of help to die must do so in writing to the doctor responsible for his treatment (if he is not in full use of his faculties, someone else can do it). Once the first request has been received, the responsible doctor will carry out a deliberative process with the patient within two days on his diagnosis, therapeutic possibilities and expected results, as well as on possible palliative care, making sure that he understands the information provided. .

After this step, the patient must make a second request (15 days after the first) and the responsible doctor, within two calendar days, will resume with the requesting patient the deliberative process in order to attend, within a maximum period of five calendar days, any doubt or need for further information. Twenty-four hours after that deliberation, the doctor will ask the applicant if he wants to continue with the process. If the answer is positive, the professional must communicate this circumstance to the healthcare team, as well as, if the patient so wishes, to relatives and friends.

The responsible doctor must consult a consulting doctor, who, after studying the clinical history and examining the patient, must corroborate compliance with the conditions within a maximum period of ten calendar days from the date of the second request, for which purpose he will write ( in 24 hours) a report that will become part of the patient’s medical history. If it is favorable, the responsible doctor will announce it to the Guarantee Commission and appoint a team to verify if the requirements to receive help to die are met. The final resolution of the commission will be announced to the president, who will transfer it to the doctor who made the communication. The commission has two months to give a definitive yes.

The president of DMD considers that the doctors have to “talk to the patient” show a “relationship of sincerity and understanding with them” and this is something “fundamental”. For this reason, before the words to this newspaper of the doctor who attended the deceased that “she had many years of life” it would be necessary to ask her, says the president of DMD, that “of what life”, since in addition to a dislocation of congenital hip, aggravated over the years, in the last three Emilia did not leave the house.

Trasobares believes that “there is a law and some rights “Therefore, there cannot be four months of waiting before the processing of a petition, as happened to Emilia. In addition, the association makes its own report to find out if it fits with the law and, it assures, the people who have requested it so far are those “who already have it internalized, who have suffered a lot” and are clear about their desire for euthanasia. “Everything has its limit and when there is no solution, the patient must be able to choose and shorten the transit “, points out.

Emilia’s family is studying to initiate legal action in court

Emilia’s family, the 83-year-old from Zaragoza who committed suicide last Saturday after four months waiting for the processing of her euthanasia petition, is thinking of “initiating legal action before the courts,” with the support of the Right to Die Dignity association. since they consider that “there has been a breach of the duty of an official.” The association considers that even if a professional declares himself a conscientious objector, he must process the request, take it to the registry, also collect the ratification request, take it to the registry and wait for the procedure to take its course before the Guarantee Commission. The DMD collective is also evaluating the possibility of organizing an act of remembrance for Emilia and “giving a knock on the law.”

After the meeting held this Wednesday with representatives of the Department of Health of the Government of Aragon, a “line of collaboration” will be intensified, he says, to “contribute ideas to try to develop the law and in the coming days” we will speak at length with the counselor “. From DMD they value” positively “the attitude of the administration” and believe that from the top of the counseling “they understand” the requests and there is a “commitment” to comply with the law. quick response, removing from their position those responsible who “have not carried out the actions that their position should have carried out” in the case of Emilia. This measure has not pleased the Primary Care Medical Unions because they say that “the responsibility for the elaboration of the development regulations corresponds to the Government of Aragon” and “the responsibility applied by the department both to the Directorate of Primary Care of Sector II like to coordinator of the Torre Ramona health center team (where Emilia was attended)) should have been directed to higher levels of command “since these must be” mere transmitters “of the regulations.

It is this legal regulation that has to advance, according to Trasobares, as well as “the improvement of the entrance door”, aspects that will be included in the proposals to update the action protocol. Also the change of brochures addressed to health workers to “understand them with the most reluctant health personnel” so that there is a “clear protocol” of action; that training is increased before a “new” and “complicated” service, because even if the doctor objects “he has to process the request and continue the process.”

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