Chile's President Michelle Bachelet visited a 14-year-old girl, Valentina Maureira, suffering from cystic fibrosis who made a heart-wrenching video appeal to be allowed to end her life.
The teenager is in a stable condition from cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that attacks the lungs and other vital organs, making it difficult to breath and causing a host of other symptoms.
Valentina had addressed Bachelet personally in the message, which she recorded with a smartphone and uploaded to YouTube from her hospital bed without her parents knowledge. She said, "I ask to speak urgently with the president, because I am tired of living with this disease. She can authorize an injection to put me to sleep forever."
Her father Fredy Maureira said, "I have to respect his daughter's wishes. She is 14 years old and she knows this disease better than anyone. 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."
Her message has been viewed several times on social networks, igniting debate over euthanasia in Chile, where it is forbidden by law. Bachelet, accompanied by Health Minister Carmen Castillo, responded to the appeal with Saturday morning's unannounced visit. Both of them spent nearly an hour with her at the Catholic University hospital in Santiago.
Bachelet's spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said, "The government could not comply with Maureira's wishes but would cover the cost of psychiatric treatment for her and her family."