First Legal Euthanasia Death Administered In Ibiza
Dressed in her most beautiful clothes, her nails painted in emerald green and wearing high heel boots studded with silver stars, 59-year-old Doerte Lebender lay back on a chair in her room and gratefully said goodbye to the island as a lethal neuromuscular blocker was injected into her veins. For the first time in thirty-five years, she was at peace, free of the debilitating pain that Multiple Sclerosis disease had inflicted on her body, her mind sharp but her nerves dead. She had opened the window of her small apartment in Ibiza town to allow her soul to pass freely from this life to the next, not far from the ancient Necropolis of Puig des Moulins where the Carthaginians and Romans buried their nobility as they regarded Ibiza as a portal to the next life.
Doerte Lebender died with dignity, a legal right that was bestowed on her by the Spanish state when it became the seventh country in the world to legalise Euthanasia by introducing the Ley Organánica 3/2021 on March 24 last. Doerte had been waiting for the day that she would receive the documents that legally authorised a third party to end her life, a “Good Death” as she called it. She chose the time of her passing as Wednesday, October 27, her favourite day and number.
She had prepared the room she would leave her mortal body in, it was decorated with fresh flowers, her baptism robes and a candle she had bought in Notre Dame Cathedral in 1989. She had said goodbye to all her human friends who understood and supported her passing, her only regret was that she could not communicate that decision to her loyal grey-haired canine friend of many years, Sparky. She listened to her favourite piece of music, Feuerlicht, by Herbert Gronemeyer for one last time.
I’m leaving not dying. I can now go to places and visit friends that I could not see before.
At 11.49 am yesterday two Nurses and a Doctor arrived at Doerte’s apartment to administer the lethal drugs that would make her heart stop beating. Present in the room was her doting companion and carer, Artur Rettenberger, her family Doctor and Nurse along with a close friend who all wanted to be present to ensure she left the island surrounded by love and compassion.
It was Artur that placed her favourite blue and white blanket over her body and gently let her chair recline, as the drugs finally ended the excruciating pain she had endured with grace and courage. Her final words to her friends were “ I’m leaving not dying. I can now go to places and visit friends that I could not see before. Thinking about it makes me feel good”.
Ar dheis de go raibh a h-anam.
Image credit Diario de Ibiza.
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