Euthanasia law in Spain criticised over bureaucratic delays

Two euthanasia patients in Spain donated their organs

Two euthanasia patients in Spain donated their organs. image: Creative Commons

Euthanasia law in Spain criticised over bureaucratic delays

On June 25 this year, Organic Law to regulate euthanasia came into force, to guarantee the fundamental right of people to a dignified death. The decision to allow a loved one to benefit from a dignified death has always been a highly-debated topic, but now that the law is already in force, then it should not be so difficult in a situation where everybody agrees to it.

It would appear though that due to bureaucracy, or the slowness of the institutions, family members still eventually suffer. Such is the case of journalist, Alfonso Rivera, who works for the El Pais publication in Spain. His mother was Maria Luz Calvo, living in Extremadura, and she had agreed with her family that after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she would avail herself of this new law.

After many months of paperwork, his mother passed away last Wednesday, October 27, apparently suffering until her final end, as the bureaucracy surrounding the euthanasia paperwork dragged on. As a result, Alfonso went to La Ventana to tell his mother’s story, in the hope that it can benefit others in the future.

Rivera said, “My mother said that she did not want to suffer agony, which is a very painful thing for those around and for those who suffer”. He explained how, after the law had been approved, his mother had even gone to a notary to confirm that in the event of serious illness, they should apply euthanasia.

Suffering from the pancreatic cancer, Rivera’s mother had asked for the date of September 24, but, sadly, passed away on October 26 without any decision being finalised. “There is a protocol that is much slower than the disease”, lamented the journalist.

Without blaming the health professionals, he has expressed the opinion that the Law “is not in accordance with a reality as cruel and harsh as it is to die”. He explained how his mother had begged doctors to help her speed up the process in some way. “She trusted a law that has been approved since June, and has died deceived”, he revealed.

He continued, “She had to, every week or ten days, re-sign. I suppose that the process will have stopped, but we have not received any response”.

As this was the first case of its kind in Extremadura, the journalist said that there was no list of objecting doctors. Nor was there a Commission in charge of these cases, until the first case, that of his mother, came to light. He has not been able to confirm this, but based on the evidence, Alfonso said, “I don’t want to go through this again with a person I love. If he goes, let him go happily”, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at