Albuquerque Journal Guest Column: Give terminally ill option beyond dying of thirst

February 19, 2021

An excerpt from the Albuquerque Journal guest column, “Give terminally ill option beyond dying of thirst,” by Albuquerque resident Revathi A-Davidson, published February 19, 2021:

“How often have we said, ‘I am dying of thirst,’ with little real sense of what that really means or what it looks like? Witnessing someone, especially a close friend, die slowly due to dehydration is hard enough to bear. Knowing what that fellow human being is going through, however, is simply wrenching. My friend Linda did exactly that when she voluntarily stopped eating and drinking (VSED) on Jan. 7 of this year. She died 20 days later. She did this because she was at the very end stage of her life from an incurable cancer, which caused her intractable pain and anguish….

By early January, as her condition worsened, and she was aware that access to medical aid in dying (MAID) was not a legal choice for her, Linda turned to the legal option of VSED. Consider the cruelty this option poses: while MAID would have enabled my friend to end her life on her terms and within a short period of time, the VSED process took 20 days with her experiencing a vicious thirst…

I urge members of our Legislature to recognize the need for allowing citizens of our state to have access to MAID under the circumstances that have been so carefully defined in HB 47. Please do not make literally dying of thirst the only legal option for the terminally ill.”


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