Ángel Hernández helped his moribund wife to end her life and was arrested for it – assisted suicide is illegal in Spain.
The reason that it is still illegal is because right-wing parties opposed a bill to permit a “dignified death” as it is known. It goes without saying that the Spanish Council of Bishops also oppose it.
But politics aside, 61-year-old María José Carrasco, was the victim of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) whose existence had been reduced to a point where she no longer wished to carry on in this way. In 1994, she was diagnosed with an 82% disability. When her husband finally acted under her expressed wishes she could barely move her head, although she was still able to speak.
It was last month, two weeks ago, that Ángel sent a letter to the Derecho a Morir Dignamente (DMD) association, explaining their current situation. He said that palliative care is not a substitute for euthanasia but that the two should coexist as alternatives for each person to freely choose from when faced by a situation like this.
They did originally opt for Palliative Care offered by the Madrid Regional Government but were far from happy with it. She was taken into the Unidad de Cuidados Paliativos at Hospital Santa Cristina in December 2018 but was only allowed to remain there for 15 days.
‘Ángel recorded the act of euthanasia on video so that there could be no misinterpretation of their combined actions. “I am you hands,” he told her, “because you cannot use your own.” He asked her if she was completely sure that this was what she wanted and she clearly responded that it was before drinking medication that had been purchased via Internet.
Immediately afterwards, Ángel, who had phoned 112 to explained what had happened, was arrested and kept in police custody awaiting an appearance before a magistrate. He was released the next day pending trial.
Whilst in the cell he wrote, “Somos defensores de que la eutanasia sea considerada como un derecho de libre elección de toda persona que arrastre una enfermedad irreversible que le produzca una existencia de dependencia y sufrimiento que no desea” (We back that euthanasia be considered as a right of free choice for any person who has to live with an irreversible illness that creates an existence of dependence and suffering, which one does not want).
Editorial comment: As long as euthanasia is a personal choice expressed before a notary public, and not something imposed by the State, then the religious or political beliefs of third parties should not be able to prevent a person from taking this step.
(News: Madrid, Spain)