Peruvian woman becomes first person in country to die by euthanasia

A Peruvian woman with an uncurable disease that left her bed ridden and requiring round-the-clock care has become the first person in the country to die by euthanasia.

After a long legal battle, Ana Estrada, 47, “died on her own terms, in accordance with her idea of ​​dignity and in full control of her autonomy until the end,” her family said in a statement shared Monday.

Euthanasia is prohibited in Peru, but in February 2021, a Peruvian court ordered health authorities to “respect Estrada’s decision” to end her life through the medical procedure of euthanasia.

It was the first time in the country’s history that its justice system recognized and authorized a person’s right to end their life.

Health authorities did not appeal, and the decision was later ratified by the Supreme Court in July 2022.

“This is a historic ruling,” her lawyer, Walter Gutierrez, said at the time, adding that Estrada was “very happy.”

Gutierrez explained to CNN en Español that Estrada “loved life and wanted to continue living within the limitations of her circumstances,” but wanted the freedom to die on her own terms.

A psychologist by profession, Estrada suffered from polymyositis, a chronic and degenerative disease that affected her muscles, preventing her from speaking and leaving her bed ridden. She was on a ventilator and needed nurses to care for her 24-hours a day.

Estrada spoke to CNN en Español on two occasions.

During a 2021 interview, Estrada said she wanted to “exercise my right to choose when, how and where to die.”

By then, she had been going through a legal battle for about four years, initially on her own and later with the help of the Ombudsman’s Office.

“Ana’s legacy will live in the minds and hearts of many people and in the history of our country,” the family’s statement read.

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