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Paralysed woman demands right to die

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09:35 CET+01:00
A 31-year-old woman who is completely paralysed and has been on a respirator since she was six, has demanded the right to die in a letter to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

Doctors are willing to help the woman and end her treatment, but the board remains sceptical to the woman's request, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

The woman was born with a neurological illness that has led to a continuous deterioration of her condition. In her letter to the board she writes that she would have suffocated herself if only she had been able.

"I can not breathe by myself. Not a single breath. I am not able to move at all," she wrote in the letter dictated to two counsellors at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm.

The woman has asked the welfare board that she be allowed to be put to sleep so that she can die with dignity.

"It is my express wish that the respirator is turned off after I have been put to sleep," she wrote.

The 31-year-old's situation brings the controversial issue of euthanasia, and a patient's right to decide over their own life-support treatment, into the spotlight.

The Swedish Society of Medicine's ethics delegation argues that the woman has the right to decide whether her care should be discontinued, but has written to the welfare board to seek clarification.

"It is a difficult balance between the patient's right to say no to continued treatment and the deliberate action required to end life support," said Maria Jacobsson at the welfare board to the newspaper.

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