World Moved by Chilean 14-Year-Old's Plea to Be Allowed to Die

Image: TOPSHOTS-CHILE-BACHELET-EUTHANASIA-CHILD
Handout picture released by the Chilean presidential press office showing President Michele Bachelet posing for a selfie with Chilean child Valentina Maureira at the hospital she is in in Santiago, on February 28, 2015.HO / AFP - Getty Images

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A 14-year-old Chilean girl's request to be allowed to die has touched the world as her plea on social media has gone viral.

Valentina Maureira has cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease which primarily causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. Most people with the disease live only into their 20s and 30s, although in recent years some patients have lived into their 40s. The disease, which requires daily care, causes recurrent infections and damages tissues, making breathing difficult.

Valentina — whose brother died of the same illness at age 6 , as she and her family told Telemundo - made a video on YouTube unbeknownst to her parents. She asked Chilean president Michele Bachelet to allow her to have a lethal injection; euthanasia is not legal in Chile.

President Bachelet, who is a pediatrician, visited the teen at the hospital on Saturday and spent an hour with her.

Although a presidential spokesman has previously said it is not possible to allow the teen to die under current laws, he did say "it's impossible not to be overcome by emotion with the girl's request."

— Sandra Lilley