Tom La Follette, Terminally Ill Delawarean, Makes Impassioned Plea for Medical Aid in Dying
Compassion & Choices today released a video featuring Tom La Follette, a New Castle County resident who is battling Kaposi’s sarcoma, a terminal, opportunistic infection from HIV/AIDS.
This past year, Tom joined thousands of his fellow Delawareans in advocating for the state’s legislature to pass the End of Life Options Act, HB 160, Delaware’s proposed medical aid-in-dying legislation. Medical aid in dying gives mentally capable, terminally ill individuals with a prognosis of six months or less to live the option to request, obtain and self-ingest medication to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. The bill was not voted on by the full House of Representatives before the close of Delaware’s 2017 legislative session, but it passed out of the House Health and Human Development Committee and is up for reconsideration this legislative session.
“I think people that are suffering from terminal illnesses need to be heard, each one of us, loud and clear that this is something that we want and we need and we need it yesterday,” says La Follette in the video. “I’m gonna be fighting for aid in dying until it gets out of the House and into the Senate and then ’til the governor signs it.”
“When Tom first started advocating for this legislation, other terminally ill Delaware advocates, Heather Block and Ron Silverio, were alive. It was an option both of them desperately wanted, but were unable to utilize,” said Tim Appleton, Field Director at Compassion & Choices. “With 7 out of 10 Americans in support of medical aid in dying, it’s inevitable that Delaware will one day have the option. The question is: in the meantime, how many others will die suffering needlessly until lawmakers act in support of the terminally ill?”
If enacted, the Medical Aid in Dying Act would make Delaware the 9th jurisdiction in the nation to authorize medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option. Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been authorized for two decades (since 1997), has been joined since then by Washington (2008), Montana (2009), Vermont (2013, California (2015), Colorado (2016), Washington, D.C. (2017) and Hawaiʻi (2018).
The video is posted at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlIJmi6Vo7o&feature=youtu.be
Supporters of this law in Delaware can find their lawmakers here and contact them to pass HB160.