Chilean girl with cystic fibrosis tells president: Let me die

A fourteen-year-old girl suffering from cystic fibrosis asks Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet to authorize her euthanasia.

SANTIAGO, CHILE (FEBRUARY 26, 2015) (TVN) – A 14-year old Chilean girl with cystic fibrosis has asked to be allowed to die in a video she posted, pleading with President Michelle Bachelet to authorize her euthanasia.

In a video that news media said had been uploaded to her Facebook page on Sunday, Valentina Maureira said from her hospital bed: “I am asking to speak urgently to the president because I am tired of living with this sickness and she can authorize the injection to put me to sleep forever.”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the lungs and other organs.

Maureira’s mother, Jaqueline Riquelme, confirmed that her daughter had expressed desires to die.

“She said to me: ‘I feel tired, I’m bored and if I don’t see I’ll have any quality of life, sometimes I think (…) that’s what she said to me (about dying),” Riquelme said.

The health ministry was in contact with the family to ensure Maureira was receiving the psychological and medical treatment she needed, but ruled out euthanasia as an option.

Chile’s Deputy Health Minister, Jaime Burrows, said life had to be respected.

“The value of life has to be respected and it’s not possible to artificially accelerate death when one is suffering an illness of this kind,” Burrows said.

Andres Castillo, the doctor in charge of her treatment at Santiago’s Catholic University Hospital, confirmed that Valentina Maureira was a patient at the hospital and said she was stable, with no immediately life-threatening conditions.

“She’s stable, she’s without any life threatening signs and in fact today she was transferred to our paediatrics wing at the Catholic University to a less complex unit,” said Castillo.

Riquelme said her daughter remains strong.

“(She is) Strong, because sometimes she feels very tired, bored and she have seen so many things and then it’s strong (the pain). But just like her father and family, she is strong.”

Maureira’s brother had died of the disease, her father, Fredy Maureira, told local media.

Maureira is seen here spending Christmas at the medical clinic with her father.

She said then, one had to think about those less fortunate ones.

“Yesterday I spent it (Christmas Eve) with another family who had no food, did not have anything to eat and well, there we were having dinner with them and then I realize there are families who are worse off than us. And that, appreciate what you have,” Maureira said in December.

In Chile, as in many countries, euthanasia is against the law. The Catholic Church retains a strong influence on society, and the country is one of a handful to ban abortion under any circumstances.

Center-left Bachelet, who is a year into her second term, has introduced reforms, including a bill being debated in Congress that would relax the abortion law. These have angered conservatives.

Bachelet’s agenda has not mentioned euthanasia.