The first principle of palliative medicine is to relieve the pain and other symptoms that burden people living with serious illness -- in short, to help people feel better.
How do we get doctors to honor our wishes at the end of life? Most recommend preparing an advance directive, and I'm no exception. These documents are not infallible, but they are the best things we've got going for us when we can't speak for ourselves.
We need specific legal protection for professionals who honor their patients' end-of-life decisions and follow best-practice standards for managing end-of-life agonies.