(DOVER, DE – January 16, 2018) Ron Silverio, an advocate for the end-of-life care option of medical aid in dying who lived in Dover, DE, passed away Sunday night, January 7. Silverio died at home after a five-year battle with prostate cancer.
Before he died, Silverio stated his request: that the fight to authorize medical aid in dying as an option for terminally ill adults in Delaware continue. Access to medical aid in dying is an issue he felt strongly about even before his own journey with terminal cancer began and continued until the very end of his life. He was loved and known by many in his community and lovingly referred to as “everyone’s dad.” His family honored his request by asking in his obituary that in lieu of flowers, that those he touched contact their state legislators and urge them to pass HB 160, Delaware’s End of Life Options Act.
“I am deeply saddened by Ron’s passing,” said Rep. Paul Baumbach (23rd district) who introduced HB 160. “My heart goes out to his family. In recent months, Ron bravely came forward to strongly advocate for the passage of HB 160 despite the knowledge that it would not become law in time to provide him with the option to limit his end-of-life suffering. Thank you, Ron Silverio, for a life well-lived. I am very fortunate to have worked with you, and am committed to continuing your efforts to make HB160 the law of our state.”
“Ron Silverio gave so generously of his time right up until his last day of life advocating for medical aid in dying, a practice he desperately wanted, but unfortunately, was not able to utilize in Delaware,” said Tim Appleton, Multi-State Campaign and Outreach Manager for Compassion & Choices. “But we can honor his memory by continuing to fight to authorize medical aid in dying for other terminally ill Delawareans who urgently need this end-of-life need option to relieve unbearable suffering.”
Earlier this month, Compassion & Choices released a video featuring Ron Silverio. When asked what the option of medical aid in dying would have meant to him in the video, Ron stated: “Knowing five years ago that these options were for me, it would have been wonderful. It really would.”
Susan Lahaie, end-of-life options advocate and Ron’s wife, stated: “Prostate cancer finally claimed Ron’s body but never his spirit. He faced his final days with humor and courage. Unfortunately, HB 160 did not pass in time to help him, but we, his family, will continue to advocate to pass medical aid in dying on his behalf, so that other terminally ill Delawareans can have peace of mind and die on their own terms.”
HB 160 was not voted on by the full House of Representatives before the close of Delaware’s 2017 legislative session, but it passed out of committee and is up for reconsideration this legislative session.
If enacted, the End of Life Options Act would allow Delaware to join six other states and the District of Columbia in providing mentally capable, terminally ill adults with the option to request, obtain and self-ingest medication to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. Medical aid in dying is authorized in six states. Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado, as well as Washington, DC, with 40 years of combined experience in safely using this end-of-life option.