Albuquerque Journal Editorial: Aid-in-dying bill brings peace of mind, dignity to final days

An excerpt from the Albuquerque Journal editorial, “Aid-in-dying bill brings peace of mind, dignity to final days,” by the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board, published February 5, 2021:

"The end-of-life stories are emotionally powerful, too powerful, in fact, to ignore any longer.

Maya Distasio of Albuquerque recently wrote of how her grandfather, Vincent Distasio, made a grim choice to end his life as he suffered from terminal leukemia.

Distasio wrote in an op-ed published in the Journal on Jan. 29 that her 77-year-old grandfather said it felt like holes were constantly being drilled in his bones.

'Have to make a decision. Too much pain. Hard to write this,' Distasio’s grandfather left in a note found near his body. 'I want aid in dying but can’t get it in this state. …' Distasio’s Grandpa Vince was found dead in the bathtub of his Rio Rancho home — from self-inflicted knife wounds. It shouldn’t have come to that for the retired teacher who cooked, painted and 'cycled like a champ.'

Just about every family has had to face the imminent death of a loved one. And while modern medicine works wonders and can greatly extend one’s life, it cannot prevent the inevitability of death nor the indignities that come with end-of-life struggles...

A 2020 Gallup poll showed 74% of Americans support laws allowing patients to seek the assistance of a physician in ending their life. Many terminally ill patients just want the peace of mind knowing they’ll have an option should the pain and suffering become too great. It’s time the state recognizes no one should have to make the painful, gruesome choice Vincent Distasio did."