Euthanasia Will Be Legal In Spain In Three Months, Subject To Stringent Procedures and Criteria

Spain has become the 6th country to legalise the right to euthanasia for patients in extreme, constant and incurable pain with no possible relief, subject to a series of strict criteria aimed at preventing abuse, coercion or malpractice. The law was passed with 202 votes in favour, 141 against.  

The process involves several stages and at least two weeks with express consent from the patient in order to prevent rash decisions and ensure that it is the only available alternative to intolerable pain and incapacity. Patients must be either Spanish citizens, or legally resident in Spain for at least 12 months. This is to avoid ‘euthanasia tourism’. 

Patients are required to have ‘full written information about their medical process and condition’ and the ‘different alternatives and possibilities’, including palliative care options. The patient will have to expressly request the process on two occasions, 15 days apart, after which, within a maximum of 48 hours, the doctor will have to decide whether the patient meets the requisites and provide him/her, verbally and in writing, complete information about the ‘diagnosis, possible treatments or therapies and expected results and palliative care options’. After this the patient will be asked again 24 hours later whether he or she still wants to go ahead with the request.

If the answer is affirmative, a second doctor, independent of the first medic, will examine the case and ensure the patient satisfies the legal requirements, with a deadline for this procedure of 10 days. If the second doctor also gives his/her agreement, the case will be notified to the Evaluation and Control Commission, which will nominate two independent persons to prepare reports that will serve as a guide to decide finally whether the conditions in place allow the patient’s wish to be honoured.

If all the criteria are met in the views of all professional parties to the case after an exhaustive and objective study, permission cannot be denied, but any doctor can express a conscientious objection in advance and in writing, exempting him/her from performing the final act.

Medics who do express a conscientious objection will be noted on a register and their decision kept entirely confidential. This means none of the names on the ‘refusal’ log can ever be asked to practice an approved euthanasia.

This legislation ensures that a patient can make a ‘living will’ whilst he/she is still of sound mind, full comprehension and capable of signing the documents. Where the patient is physically incapable of signing – eg if he/she is paralysed – other methods of giving express permission may be approved, or another adult ‘with full legal capacity, comprehension and soundness of mind’ can sign in the presence of the patient and the doctor in charge of each stage of the process.

Where permission is denied but the patient still considers he/she meets the requisites stipulated, an appeal can be filed within a maximum of 15 days. The complete process can take up to a month, so a person who is terminally ill may not have time to complete every stage. The law allows the doctors involved to transact each step in a much shorter time if they deem it clinically necessary, provided they explain why this is the case.

The patient is allowed to decide whether to die in a hospital, clinic, hospice or similar, private or public, or in his/her own home, or possibly, the home of a close family member or friend. The patient can decide whether a doctor administers the euthanasia drug, or whether the medical team simply supply it and the patient injects it him/herself. The medical team must continue to provide complete care, support and presence during the process and if the patient decides to administer the drug, doctors must be present to witness it.

Once the patient has passed away, the death will be registered as ‘natural causes’, detailing the nature of the illness if this was terminal and would have eventually led to his/her demise.

Anyone applying for the ‘right to die with dignity’ must be an adult. 

Spanish Stores Keep Primark Afloat 

The low-cost clothing brand Primark is one of the few international fashion chains which does not have an online shopping facility. The chain, originally from Ireland but now owned by Associated British Foods (AB Foods), recorded a fall of 40.5% in its sales from 2019, taking a hit valued at around €1.28 billion.

Over half of Primark stores open for trade worldwide during the pandemic are in Spain, but sales fell by 15% last year. The 153 Primark shops in England will be back in business from April 12th and Scotland’s 20 stores will re-open from April 26th

Two More Major Motorways To Become Toll-Free. 

Removing the tolls will pave the way for a new, much fairer, more equal highways network. Day-trippers and tourists have to factor in toll fees to their getaway costs. Goods and shipping services have to add the cost to their expenses.

The motorways due to become free of charge from the end of August are the AP-7 between Tarragona, (Catalunya) and La Jonquera (Girona) on the French border and the AP-2 between Zaragoza, Aragón and El Vendrell (Tarragona).

The most recent motorway to become toll-free was the AP-7 through Valencia, from Silla to San Juan, where prices had gone from being a minor inconvenience at the beginning of the century to prohibitive by the end of the franchise term, often exceeding the amount drivers would spend on petrol for the same journey.

Supermarket Plans For Cutting Plastic Waste  

Mercadona’s ‘Strategy 6.25’ includes cutting plastic use by 25% by 2025, using only packaging, wrapping and containers which can be recycled as well as recycling its own plastic waste. They use 100% recycled material for their ‘squeeze-your-own’ orange juice bottles, which are 100% recycled plastic. Using bottles solely from recycled plastic will prevent the creation of 700 tonnes of ‘new’ plastic every year. The lightweight ‘weigh-your-own’ fruit and vegetable bags are made from biodegradable plant fibre which can be disposed of in the ‘brown bins’ used for organic waste which is turned into biomass for fuel or compost for the agricultural industry. They also break down very quickly in land-fill. Potato-fibre bags will eventually mean a reduction of 3,200 tonnes of ‘new’ plastic per year. Mercadona delivery vehicles are being upgraded/adapted to use clean fuel and around 500 stores nationwide have 1,350 electric car charging points in car parks.

Mercadona’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plan works with over 290 soup kitchens, 60 food banks and other similar entities. In 2020, the company donated 17,000 tonnes of food. Many in-store wall-decorations are designed and made by over 1,000 people with disabilities. For the last decade, Mercadona has been a member of the UN’s World Pact on protecting basic human rights, workers’ rights, the environment and fighting corruption.

Carrefour launched a range of reusable shopping bags using Seaqual Yarn – a completely traceable recycled polyester of which at least 20% is made from plastic waste scooped out of the Mediterranean by Spanish fishermen and the remainder is made entirely from recycled consumer plastic. These bags were immediately recognisable by their colourful ‘fish’ patterns.   

First Healthy White Lion Cub Born In Spain 

The white lion cub is lively, alert and ‘full of beans’, according to his carers at Mundo Park in Guillena (Sevilla province).

Mundo Park’s two adult white lions had gone many years without breeding and when they had their first cub last year, he was unwell from birth and died from hydrocephalus. This year’s cub was born with his eyes wide open and within seconds was running around.