Terminally ill Peru woman wins historic case over ‘right to die’

Estrada, a 44-year-old Peruvian psychologist, suffers from polymyositis, a rare and degenerative disease that inflames and weakens muscles.

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Peru

In a remarkable ruling, the Superior Court of Lima has ruled in favor of a Peru woman, Ana Estrada, to recognize her right to assisted death and allow her to be euthanized.

Estrada, a 44-year-old Peruvian psychologist, suffers from polymyositis, a rare and degenerative disease that inflames and weakens muscles.

In 2015, polymyositis reached her respiratory muscles, and Estrada ended up with a tracheostomy and gastrostomy (tubes in the windpipe and stomach to breathe and eat) and was under the care of nurses 24 hours a day.

“It is a unique case, but I hope it serves as a precedent,” the 44-year-old told the international media outlet that after the ministries of justice and health decided to respect a judge’s verdict that she has the right to “a dignified death.”

Estrada added, “I think it is not only my achievement but also an achievement of law and justice in Peru.”

Peru

Five years ago, Estrada started a legal battle that she should be allowed to choose to end her life “when the time comes.”

Euthanasia is forbidden in many countries, and many people in Peru strongly oppose the practice. In Latin America, Colombia allows the method under specific conditions.

Last week’s court ruling provides that state health insurer EsSalud provides “all conditions” needed for Estrada’s euthanasia, which must occur within ten business days from the date she decides to end her life.

The court ruling also cleared anyone helping Estrada in her death from facing charges, although local law still bans anyone from helping people to die.

Estrada has been writing a blog since 2016 called “Ana seeks dignified death.” She told a source that she would decide to end her life when she could no longer write.

“My body is declining, but my mind and my spirit are happy,” she said. “I want last moments of my life to be in peace, tranquility, and autonomy. I want to be remembered like that.”

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