Teenage Cystic Fibrosis Patient Who Asked to Be Euthanized Passes Away at 14 Years Old

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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14 year-old Chilean teenager Valentina Maureira became internationally known when she posted a video on YouTube asking the government’s permission to end her life. Valentina suffered from cystic fibrosis, and a month after her plea to the Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was refused, she died from complications associated with her disease, according to her father.

Last February, Maureira’s plea on YouTube, filmed from her hospital bed, gained international attention and raised many questions about the controversial topic of euthanasia. After posting the request, Valentina received a visit from Bachelet, who is also a pediatrician at the hospital.

The President spoke with the teenager and her father for over an hour, but in the end refused the request. The content of the conversation was not made public, but a presidential spokesman explained at the time that despite being “impossible not to be overcome by emotion with the girl’s request,” they couldn’t ignore the Chilean law and approve the procedure.

“I am Valentina Maureira, I am 14 years old and I suffer from cystic fibrosis. I need to speak urgently with the President because I am tired of living with this illness and she can give authorization for me to have an injection that will let me sleep forever,” she said in the video. Valentina’s older brother, Mike, also suffered and died from CF when he was only six years old.

Instead of allowing the euthanasia, the presidential office said that they were in contact with the Maureira family in order to give the girl both medical treatment and psychological assistance. Due to respiratory complications and significant malnutrition, Valentina was hospitalized at the Catholic University Hospital in Santiago since the end of January.

“This is so tough, but I have to respect her decision because she’s the one who’s suffering this illness,” said the girl’s father, Fredy Maureira, who continued to seek the government’s support after the President’s visit, according to the DailyMail. “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.”

Following the plea, several patients, families and other people visited her to show their support and help her deal with the burden of the debilitating disease for which there is currently no cure. Valentina’s father explained that after meeting other people, she was reconsidering her request. However, on May 14th, Fredy Maureira announced that his daughter was “finally resting in peace.”