HEALTH

Chilean government rejects 14-year-old's plea for euthanasia

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 (Youtube)

Chile's government on Thursday rejected an ailing 14-year-old girl's plea on social media to let her "sleep forever."

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Valentina Maureira posted a YouTube video shot from what appeared to be a hospital bed asking President Michelle Bachelet to allow her to be euthanized. It quickly circulated widely on social media.

"I urgently request to speak to the president because I'm tired of living with this illness," said the teenager, whose older brother died at age 6 from the same disease. "I want her approval so I can get a shot that will make me sleep forever."

Presidential spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said Thursday that although, "It's impossible not to be overcome by emotion with the girl's request, it's impossible to grant her wish," because it's not allowed under Chilean law.

Elizalde said the health ministry was in contact with Maureira's family and was providing her psychological assistance as well as medical treatment.

Maureira was suffering from a respiratory illness and "significant caloric malnutrition" when she entered Santiago's Catholic University hospital Jan. 30, said Andrés Castillo, the doctor in charge of her treatment.

In a statement issued by the hospital, Castillo said she had been transferred out of the critical pediatric patient unit.

"Right now our therapeutic efforts are aimed at the recovery of her nutritional state and supporting her family," he said.

Valentina's father said she will continue trying to meet with Bachelet, so the president, who is also a pediatrician, can "listen to her life story."

"This is so tough, but I have to respect her decision because she's the one who's suffering this illness," Fredy Maureira told the Associated Press.

"I already lost a 6-year-old son because I didn't have enough money and organs. Now my daughter just wants to die in a dignified way," he added.

Maureira said that after he first heard his daughter's wish to die, he "cried through the night."

The degenerative disease is affecting Valentina's liver, pancreas and lung, and she has said that she's frustrated by the lack of options and how much it has affected her quality of life.

"She's exhausted, we're all exhausted, but if she wants to keep fighting, I'll be by her side every second," the father said. "My message to all the parents in the world who have healthy kids is: Please take care of them. Love them."

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