Elderly man first to die by euthanasia with government backing
A 79-year old man suffering from incurable throat cancer has become the first Colombian to die by euthanasia with the full backing of the government.
Ovidio Gonzalez died Friday in the western city of Pereira after weeks of public feuding with doctors and hospital administrators over a Health Ministry decree mandating that clinics perform the procedure when requested by terminally ill patients.
A constitutional Court ruling 17 years ago made Colombia the first and still only country in Latin America, and one of just a handful worldwide, to allow euthanasia. But Congress never passed laws regulating the procedure, as the high court had ordered, and in April the Health Ministry intervened, providing the regulatory guidelines for insurers and hospitals.