Albuquerque Journal Guest Column: Grandpa Vince should have died peacefully, not violently

January 29, 2021

An excerpt from the Albuquerque Journal guest column, “Grandpa Vince should have died peacefully, not violently,” by Albuquerque resident Maya Distasio, published January 29, 2021:

“My Grandpa Vince was a lover of life. At age 77, he was a retired teacher who cooked, painted and cycled like a champ. His life changed dramatically during a bike ride up a familiar hill. He ran out of breath. Soon after, tests confirmed grandpa was dying of leukemia…

On the morning of March 28, 2017, my phone rang. It was grandpa Vince. He was in agony. I rushed to his house. When I got there, the doors were locked. He didn’t answer my phone call. I called the police. The officer arrived minutes later. He broke the door open and found grandpa dead in the bathtub. He died alone from self-inflicted knife wounds.

New Mexico legislators are once again considering a bill that would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults the option to die peacefully. The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act, HB 47, would allow terminally ill New Mexicans to make the end-of-life care decisions that are right for them. The bill gives terminally ill adults the ability to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully if their suffering becomes intolerable…

I share my Grandpa Vince’s story to urge our New Mexico lawmakers to put themselves in the shoes of someone with a terminal and painful condition. Think what it would be like to want to put an end to your suffering and being told: No.

Honorable N.M. legislators should open their hearts. I urge them to support the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act so no terminally ill New Mexicans have to die the way my Grandpa Vince did, violently, tragically, by their own hand.”


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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.