Dear members of the community World Federation of Right to Die Societies,
With much sadness in our hearts, we deeply regret to communicate the death of Dr. Juan Mendoza Vega, president of the “Fundación Pro Derecho a Morir Dignamente” of Colombia, on October 7th of 2017.
The life of the Doctor Juan Mendoza Vega was an example of all who had the privilege of knowing him.
During every public and private act, he always shined for his excellence.
His academic background was distinguished by outstanding performance, not just in the field of medicine, neurosurgery and medical ethics, but also in journalism, history and the Spanish language.Member several collegiate bodies, such as the National Academy of Medicine (president on several occasions and nowadays was elected as perpetual secretary), Academy of History, Academy of language, president of the Colombia Institute of Bioethical Studies ICEB, as well of the National Court of Medical Ethics. In addition, he was president of the Latin American Federation of Societies of Neurosurgery, Director of the Neurological Institute of Colombia and board member of Analbe (National Association of Bioethics).
He was professor of the Rosario University on neuroscience, neurosurgery, history of medicine, ethics, bioethics and medical legislation. After his retirement, the university named him professor emeritus. For all his students, he represented the indelible example of what it means to be an excellent doctor, with eminent thoughts, feelings and actions. He was the inspiration of several generations of humanistic doctors. Furthermore, he was a columnist of the newspaper El espectador for more than 40 years, as guideline for medicine profession. During his youth practiced fencing and was passionate to painting as spectator and creator.
In every role, he was staunch defender of patients’ rights and of the excellence of medical profession. All his virtues were used in the service of protection of the right to die with dignity. He did an outstanding job, respecting different beliefs and always fostering dialogue and consensus. With this he earned a lot of respect, even of those who did not share his way of thinking. He had an important role during the development of the public policies on this subject, which marked a significant milestone in the history of Colombian Medicine. All the Board of Directors members of Fundación Pro Derecho a Morir Dignamente deeply appreciate his leadership and considered a privileged to have had his friendship.
Among his works are History of Medicine Lessons (1989); Pain; pathophysiology; manifestations and treatment (1990), and Towards a more humane medicine (in collaboration with Francisco J. Leal Quevedo, 1997). He also published poems The Inner Seas (2001) Count up to 80 and Second blog (2006).
Wonderful husband and father; our heartfelt condolences to his wife María Victoria, to her daughter Pilar Claudia, his son Juan Alonso and to his grandchildren. He will always be present in their hearts as in ours.