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Preventable Tragedy Highlights Need for Aid in Dying

Issue Currently Before Connecticut Court

Compassion & Choices, the nation’s largest advocate for end-of-life care and choices, responded to the tragic deaths in North Haven, Connecticut, described as “a murder-suicide,” of 73 year-old Thomas Vanacore and 70-year-old Joan Vanacore on Monday, May 10. The tragedy could and should have been avoided. Thomas Vanacore was reportedly dying of throat cancer and his wife Joan of Alzheimer’s disease. Thomas is reported to have shot his wife and then himself to death.

“These recent deaths illustrate the desperation patients feel, and the need for rational public policy on end-of-life choices,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices. “Only Oregon, Washington, and Montana currently have rational policies. The time has come to close the door on underground, desperate actions by suffering patients.”

The Vanacores should have been able to turn to their physician if they found their dying processes to be unbearable and request a prescription for medication they could consume to bring about a peaceful death.