End-of-Life Care Group Launches Nationwide PSAs to Highlight Annual “Day of the Dead” Celebration

Latino Hollywood Actor Mauricio Ochmann Urges Fellow Latinos to Share Their End-of-Life Stories, Learn About Medical Aid-in-Dying Option in D.C. and Seven States
November 1, 2018

Mauricio Ochmann

In anticipation of the annual “Day of the Dead” celebration to honor deceased Latinos on Nov. 1-2, Compassion & Choices today distributed public service announcements (PSAs) narrated by Hollywood actor Mauricio Ochmann urging Latinos to share their loved ones’ end-of-life stories. The PSAs also invite Latinos to learn about medical aid in dying.

Mauricio recorded the 30-second PSAs in English and Spanish in Los Angeles. The distribution of the PSAs just a few days before the Day of the Dead is intentional. It is a logical time for families to talk about the importance of communicating with medical providers and loved ones about what healthcare options each family member wants at the end of their life if they become too sick to speak for themselves. Click here to view the video in Spanish and English.

“Hi, I’m Mauricio Ochmann. The law [in authorized jurisdictions] gives terminally ill adults the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take to end their suffering and die peacefully in their sleep,” he states in the PSA. “Please share your personal or family story about the need for this law.”

This option is authorized in Washington, D.C., and seven states: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and, starting on Jan. 1, Hawai‘i. Collectively, these eight jurisdictions represent 19 percent of the nation’s population and 30 percent of the Latino population.

The PSAs are being distributed just months after a California court entered a judgment in late May invalidating California’s End of Life Option Act. Mauricio showed his support for reinstating the law by visiting terminally ill Californian Matt Fairchild, 48, a retired U.S. Army sergeant suffering from melanoma, and his wife, Ginger, at their home in Burbank. The visit was part of Compassion & Choices’ Latino media outreach to defend the End of Life Option Act. Fortunately, an appeals court reinstated the state’s medical aid-in-dying law in June, pending further court review.

These laws give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.

Medical aid in dying has made headlines among Latinos because of Mauricio’s advocacy, the death of Puerto Rican advocate Miguel Carrasquillo and the growing support of national Latino organizations that include the Hispanic Council on Aging, the Latino Commission on AIDs, Hispanic Health Network and Latinos for Healthcare Equity.

Latino support for medical aid in dying has significantly increased since Miguel’s death. Today, polling shows 69 percent of Latinos support medical aid in dying, prompting more Hispanic organizations to support this end-of-life care option.

“We are grateful to Mauricio Ochmann for always making time to speak out in support of terminally ill Latinos despite his busy schedule,” said Kim Callinan, chief executive officer for Compassion & Choices. “We are pleased that Mauricio’s popularity among this important community is making a difference and that Latinos are coming forward to share their stories and consider supporting medical aid-in-dying legislation throughout the country.”

In 2014, Ochmann became the first Hollywood celebrity to publicly endorse Compassion & Choices’ campaign to pass medical aid-in-dying legislation in California at a time when many Latinos were reluctant to discuss end-of-life care issues. He was joined by civil rights activist Dolores Huerta and civil rights activist, actor and director Edward James Olmos.

“Support for medical aid-in-dying laws is a matter that comes from the soul … from my heart,” he said. “We have to be on top of this because they [the terminally ill] deserve a dignified death. It’s very important to have a death with dignity.”

Ochmann is a member of Compassion & Choices’ Latino Leadership Council, a group of leaders who help guide outreach to engage Hispanics in the United States, including Puerto Rico, to advocate for laws to expand healthcare options at the end of life.

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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