an suffering from ALS has life support machine switched off after lawyers submit request, Israeli daily says

An Israeli court permitted a case of euthanasia two weeks ago for a sufferer of the terminal illness ALS, the first decision of its kind in Israel, Ha’aretz reported Tuesday.

The Tel Aviv District Court gave the verdict after the Attorney General reached an unprecedented decision to allow the patient to be disconnected from the life support machine he was connected to, according to the Israeli daily.

The verdict was carried out and the patient died after the machine was switched off. The unique case was released for publication after a request from Ha’aretz.

The man apparently suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and in the past seven years was bed-ridden and total paralyzed, according to the report.

He was, however, able to move his eyes and this was how he communicated with others. His condition recently deteriorated and doctor’s feared that he would lose his ability to communicate with his eyes.

His lawyers turned to the courts and made a special request on his behalf to put an end to his life.

Back in June, the Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill to make assisted suicide legal for terminal patients.

The bill passed by a majority of eight to two; one minister chose to abstain from voting. In order to become ratified as a law, the bill must pass a vote at the country’s parliament, the Knesset.

It was put forth by Knesset Member Ofer Shelah from the centrist Yesh Atid party.

According to the terms of the bill, patients diagnosed with an incurable disease who are expected to live less than six months would be able to end their life with medical assistance. The critical difference between this procedure and euthanasia is that the medical professional is not administering the lethal drug and, therefore, cannot be held legally accountable.

Shelah was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying that the law “would give [a patient] an amount of control over her or his life without the doctor fearing that s/he would be legally taking responsibility for the patient’s death, at a stage when the pain and suffering are unbearable.”

He further added that approving the proposal will “put Israel in the forefront of enlightened nations.”

Naftali Bennett’s ultra-nationalist Habayit Hayehudi party immediately responded to the news announcing its Knesset Members would vote against the proposal.

Resistance from right-wing lawmakers, who make up the majority of the Knesset, is expected to complicate the bill’s legal path.

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