The Globe and Mail
Colombia decriminalized medically assisted death in 2015, the first country in Latin America to take the step, but it went much further last May with a regulation that made the procedure available to children.
It was a particularly striking decision in a socially conservative country where almost 80 per cent of people identify as religious Roman Catholics and where the population of evangelical Christians is growing rapidly; the churches, which vocally oppose euthanasia, are a powerful political force.
Providing assisted death to children is a controversial subject even in the field of palliative care. . . [Full text]
18 Years of Legal Limbo Over with New Regulatory Protocol
Pan Am Post
An 18-year wait came to an end on Monday, April 20, when Health Ministry authorities presented guidelines for Colombian doctors to perform euthanasia. The Constitutional Court ordered them to set the protocols in a February decision, after declaring the practice legal all the way back in 1997.
Medical practitioners in the Andean country have routinely refused to support assisted suicide, fearing criminal charges. Even with the court judgment standing, there was simply no regulatory environment. . . the Health Promotion Agency (EPS) is tasked with finding an alternative doctor or health center if the patient’s usual provider refuses to help him die. [Full text]
Court Gives Health Ministry 30 Days to Regulate Assisted Suicide
Pan Am Post
On Tuesday, February 17, the Colombian Constitutional Court gave the Ministry of Health 30 days to implement a number of protocols pertaining to euthanasia, setting guidelines for all health care providers in the Andean country.
During this time, health agencies are tasked with forming interdisciplinary committees to advise patients and their families on their decision to resort to euthanasia, in order to prevent such a decision being made as a result of mood or depression. . . [Full text]
Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009 Mar;104(3):249-52. Epub 2008 Nov 29.
Rebecca J. Cook, Monica Arango Olaya, Bernard M. Dickens
The Constitutional Court of Colombia has issued a decision of international significance clarifying legal duties of providers,hospitals, and healthcare systems when conscientious objection is made to conducting lawful abortion. The decision establishes objecting providers’duties to refer patients to non-objecting providers, and that hospitals,clinics, and other institutions have no rights of conscientious objection. Their professional and legal duties are to ensure that patients receive timely services. Hospitals and other administrators cannot object, because they do not participate in the procedures they are obliged to arrange. Objecting providers, and hospitals, must maintain knowledge of non-objecting providers to whom their patients must be referred. Accordingly, medical schools must adequately train, and licensing authorities approve, non-objecting providers. Where they are unavailable, midwives and perhaps nurse practitioners may be trained, equipped, and approved for appropriate service delivery. The Court’s decision has widespread implications for how healthcare systems must accommodate conscientious objection and patients’ legal rights. [Full Text]