Chile president meets 14-year-old girl asking for permission to die | News | DW | 01.03.2015
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Chile president meets 14-year-old girl asking for permission to die

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has met with 14-year-old Valentina Maureira who has pleaded to let doctors euthanize her. The teenager was suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet went to a hospital on Saturday to visit 14-year-old Valentina Maureira who became a national sensation after she asked to be euthanized by her doctors.

The teenager, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, released a recorded plea on Youtube earlier this week, which went viral. The Chile government denied her the request soon after the video was released.

A visit from the president

The government tweeted about Bachelet's visit and her hour-long conversation with Valentina and her father at the Catholic University hospital in the capital, Santiago.

Valentina came to public attention on Thursday when she posted a video on Youtube, begging the president to allow doctors to take her life.

"I urgently request to speak to the president because I am tired of living with this illness…She can authorize an injection to put me to sleep forever," the teenager said in her video, which went viral on social media sites.

Valentina suffers from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that attacks the lungs and vital organs, making it difficult to breathe and causing recurrent infections. The 14-year-old said she was tired of lack of options for treatment and her low quality of life.

Government refuses plea

Valentina's video triggered a debate on legalizing euthanasia in Chile and although the government expressed sympathy with her plight, officials refused to give in to her request.

"It is impossible to not be overcome by emotion with the girl's request," presidential spokesman Alvaro Elizade said, but he said it was "impossible to grant her wish."

Valentina's father said he was very sad after he heard of his daughter's wish to die, but he understood she was going through a tough time.

"It's very tough. I don't want to be going through this, but I have to respect my daughter's decision. She wants to be at rest," Fredy Maureira said.

mg/bk (AP, AFP)

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