Posted on July 22, 2019 at 4:00 AM
Until a few days ago, Spain was grappling with a medical futility case. But the conflict may now be moot, since the patient recovered and was discharged.
54-year-old Maria Teresa Blanco suffers from a neuro-degenerative ataxia that keeps her speechless and barely moving. Over the past three years, she has been admitted more than 20 times to Hospital Universitario Principe de Asturias. In early July 2019, she was admitted with sepsis.
Clinicians soon determined that “advanced techniques of resuscitation” which are “aggressive and invasive” should not be used” because they would “not benefit” the patient. Clinicians determined that resuscitation would “generate suffering for the patient without providing a benefit.”
Maria Teresa’s family, represented by the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers, asked the Court of Instruction No. 6 of Alcalá de Henares to ensure measures are taken to “guarantee Maria Teresa’s life.” The court granted a temporary restraining order.
The hospital filed its own petition, alleging that the requested measures constituted “therapeutic harassment” that “would not benefit” the patient. The hospital also sought to defend itself against the “intimidating attitude of the family with medical professionals”.
(El Pais 1; El Pais 2)