Scott Barraco of New York, featured in the following short video to advocate for assisted dying, after his experience with his girlfriend, Cathy Quinn, who died from tongue cancer in June 2014. A physician-assisted dying bill, which would allow terminally ill people to die with dignity, is pending in the New York state legislature
According to boyfriend, Scott Barraco, “Cathy Quinn suffered dearly, and it wasn’t necessary. Cathy was an extraordinary woman. For two years she battled cancer with a driving determination, relentless stamina, and an incredible wit. The last ten months of her life she took nourishment from a feeding tube. She was unable to eat, drink, taste, smell, or speak. Even under those circumstances she found inspiring ways to enjoy life, and bring joy to others. She loved her pets, her cute little house, me, and dozens of friends…
“After three major surgeries to replace parts of her tongue with other body parts, multiple rounds of radiation, multiple rounds of chemo, a boatload of pharmaceuticals, and countless procedures, the cancer returned for a fourth time. It spread throughout her body. Cathy knew she was going to die….
“Cathy’s best option to have some control over her death was to choose to stop eating and drinking. Doctors explained to us that the cessation of eating and drinking would likely be difficult. The hunger pains would pass, but the thirst wouldn’t go away. They explained that after several days Cathy would eventually fall unconscious, and then linger some indefinite number of weeks before she would die from dehydration. This was a far cry from self-administering medicine that would allow her to gently fall asleep, and peacefully pass away at her choosing. How could she be given the choice to hasten her own death, but then denied the most compassionate way of doing it? We talked about how unfair this was…
“She wanted to go on her own terms. She wanted to be able to die in peace, in her own home in familiar surroundings, with those she loved. She earned it, she deserved it—she didn’t get it.”
On 4 June 2014 (22 days before Cathy died), Cathy Quinn posted an entry in her blog called “Speaking in tongues, or without a tongue, as the case may be” which opened:
“Confession time. Everybody keeps talking about how brave and courageous I am. Not so much as far as I’m concerned. A few weeks back I posted that I was back in the hospital due to a relapse of the pneumonia. It wasn’t quite a lie, the pneumonia really had taken a turn for the worse but I was actually back in the hospital because I tried to kill myself….Seriously, why did I try to kill myself? Because I hate having no control. I hate sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, wondering what new hell the day is going to bring. My death is inevitable. I should say my near death is inevitable, it’s not like I still have years in me and I’m trying to throw them away. I have a month or two at the most. So since it’s inevitable, why can’t I go on my own terms? I tell baby doll all the time that I would like to simply walk into my bedroom, lay down, and never get up again. It would be wondrous if it was that simple….” Click for full blog