When I started writing about California’s End of Life Option Act in this blog, I never imagined that an old friend, from a job that I had in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, would be one of the people in California to make use of it.
But in late March, Tom Negrino, terminally ill with cancer, made a plan to take drugs that would put him to sleep, then allow him to pass away. The End of Life Option Act allows patients, like Tom, with less than six months to live, to choose to take their own lives, provided that two doctors determine that the person is mentally competent to make medical decisions, is able to swallow medication themselves, and requests the aid-in-dying drug both verbally and in writing.
In a story in the Healdsburg tribune, on March 7, 2017, Dori Smith, Tom’s wife, said that Tom was exhausted after a multi year struggle with kidney cancer and was ready to rest. She said, “He’s fought and he’s fought, all of his life. He’s the eldest son in an Italian family; he’s always been strong. His biggest grief now is that he can’t read or write.” If you’d like to read what Tom had to say about dying, you can read his post here.
Dori went on to describe how Tom had to convince multiple doctors that he was capable of making and understanding the consequences of his own decisions, that no one was putting pressure on him, and that he had less than six months to live in order to fulfill the terms of the law.
Tom died on March 15, 2017. He asked people to make donations in his honor to the AppCamp4 Girls, a summer day camp for girls who want to learn to write apps, a cause that he was passionate about.
I knew Tom when I was an editor at Macworld Magazine, where he wrote many articles on a variety of topics. He was always kind, funny, honest, enthusiastic and on-time–a joy to work with. I hope that he found dignity in the way that he chose to end his life. For more info on the End of Life Option Act, click here.