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Woman dies after passive euthanasia ruling

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07:45 CEST+02:00
A 32-year-old woman who was completely paralysed and had been on life support since she was six, died on Wednesday after her respirator was unplugged, in Sweden's first case of euthanasia, a Stockholm hospital said.

"The patient who asked the health board to die, died at 5:33 pm after her respirator was unplugged," Annakarin Svenningsson, a spokesperson for Stockholm's Danderyd hospital told AFP.

Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) last month authorised passive euthanasia, whereby patients may request the termination of their treatment knowing that this will lead to their death.

The ruling followed a request for clarification by doctors, as Swedish law allowed for patients to refuse treatment, but assisted suicide - including shutting off respirators - was classified as a crime.

Active euthanasia, such injecting a person with drugs in order to make them die, is still illegal in Sweden.

The change was also made following the request by the 32-year-old woman who died on Wednesday, whose name has not been disclosed.

Totally paralysed and dependent on a respirator since the age of six, she asked requested it be shut off when she was asleep.

"I don't want to suffer or rot any longer, the respirator is the only thing keeping me alive," she wrote.

After permission was granted for her to die, the woman told the Expressen daily : "I am very happy and at peace with my soul."

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