Delaware Online/The News Journal: Opinion: Passing end of life legislation in 2022 would honor deceased advocates

July 9, 2021

An excerpt from the Delaware Online/The News Journal op-ed, “Passing end of life legislation in 2022 would honor deceased advocates,” by Mark Hayden—whose husband was Compassion & Choices Volunteer Storyteller Tom La Follette—published July 8, 2021:

“Despite suffering from painful lesions throughout his body caused by a terminal cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma, my late husband, Tom La Follette, testified twice in recent years in support of a bill that would allow terminally ill adults in Delaware to have the option of medical aid in dying to gently end unbearable suffering. Tom said the lesions made his lower legs feel like they were ‘melting everywhere…’

Tragically, our state lawmakers did not pass medical aid-in-dying legislation before Tom died last November. He paid a very heavy price as a result of their inaction. Last October, his kidneys started to fail, leading to three times week dialysis treatments, and two hospital stays of 12 days and a week without me being able to see him because of COVID-19 visitor restrictions…

Two other terminally ill advocates for the End of Life Options Act also paid a steep price for lawmakers’ inaction over the last several years. In 2018, Dover resident Ron Silverio and Lewes resident Heather Block both died with needless suffering from prostate cancer and stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, respectively. In their memory, the bill’s author, Rep. Paul Baumbach, changed the name to ‘The Ron Silverio/Heather Block End of Life Options Act…’

Now that lawmakers once again have failed to pass this bill in the 2021 legislative session that ended on June 30, it’s past time for them to honor these brave souls by passing it in 2022… I urge our lawmakers to honor their constituents’ wishes by passing Delaware’s End of Life Options Act in 2022, so Tom’s, Ron’s and Heather’s selfless advocacy for this gentle dying option won’t have been in vain.”


Tom’s final message to lawmakers:

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