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Compassion & Choices Unveils New TV Ad

2nd TV Commercial of 2021 Once Again Urges Legislature: “Stop Needless Suffering. Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.”

Compassion & Choices today unveiled a new 30-second commercial featuring Rochester resident Scott Barraco, recalling how his late girlfriend, Cathy Quinn, died in prolonged agony from tongue cancer.

Cathy wanted to die peacefully with a prescription for aid-in-dying medication. But Cathy lived in New York, where medical aid in dying is not authorized.

As Scott says, “Albany lawmakers had the power to give Cathy peace at the end of life. Why wouldn’t they do it?”

Medical aid in dying allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with six months or less to live to request a prescription from their doctor they can take when their suffering becomes too great to bear and die peacefully. Earlier this month, New Mexico became the 10th state (along with Washington, D.C.) to authorize medical aid in dying.

The new ad can be seen here.

The new ad features Scott Barraco. Initially talking as he looks at pictures and scrapbooks of his girlfriend, Cathy.

Rochester resident Scott Barraco holds a photo of his late girlfriend, Cathy Quinn, who died in prolonged agony from tongue cancer.

Rochester resident Scott Barraco holds a photo of his late girlfriend, Cathy Quinn, who died in prolonged agony from tongue cancer.

“Cathy was diagnosed with tongue cancer. After a series of excruciating treatments, her doctors could no longer treat her disease.

“She was in so much pain. Cathy was so desperate to hold onto her autonomy, she even tried to take her own life.

Scott, looking at the camera:

“Albany lawmakers had the power to give Cathy peace at the end of life.

“Why wouldn’t they do it?

While looking at pictures of the two of them, Scott continues:

“Do it for Cathy and countless other New Yorkers.

“Stop Needless Suffering, Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.”

“People not only suffer terrible deaths against their wishes, but they also suffer the anticipation of it,” Barraco said. “Cathy was robbed of her ability to plan and make decisions about her death in the same way she did for her life. She was robbed of the freedom to make the most of her final weeks with the nagging thoughts of what suffering might come at the end.

“At the end, Cathy suffered grand mal seizures and lost consciousness. I was unable to care for her at home. It meant a trip to a hospice facility where she died three days later,” Barraco said.

The new commercial is part of Compassion & Choices’ campaign to “Stop needless suffering. Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.” in 2021.

Earlier this session, Compassion & Choices ran a TV commercial featuring two New Yorkers, Dr. Jeff Gardere and Jennifer Milich, a terminally ill Buffalo resident, urging the Legislature to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act. That ad can be seen here.

Jennifer Milich is also featured in a powerful video conversation with Assemblymember Karines Reyes (D-Bronx), who also is a registered nurse.

Compassion & Choices Senior New York Campaign Director Corinne Carey said, “Compassion & Choices is committed to continue and intensify the campaign until New York authorizes medical aid in dying. With all the suffering New Yorkers have experienced and witnessed during this pandemic, now is the time for the Legislature to stop the suffering for those New Yorkers who are slowly and often painfully dying from cancer, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and other terminal diseases.

“Medical aid in dying may not be the right end-of-life decision for everyone. Authorizing it will change nothing for those who would never seek it, but it changes everything for those who need it. It’s inexcusable that New York has not made medical aid in dying available to all who qualify and want that option,” Carey said.

New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act is supported by the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, League of Women Voters of New York State, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York State Public Health Association, StateWide Senior Action Council, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Harlem United, Latino Commission on AIDS, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, and Latinos for Healthcare Equity, and the WESPAC Foundation, among many others.


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