Survey after survey shows people want a “good death,” at home, not surrounded by machines. And those same surveys show a minority of people fill out advance directives to spell out their wishes. But in this story, the patient has clearly stated wishes and a doctor committed to honoring them–until the doctor runs into harassment from one of his brethren, another doctor.

The conversation took place two years ago, but Dr. Daniel Matlock still recalls it quite vividly. You tend to remember when a physician colleague essentially brands you a Nazi. Dr. Matlock, a geriatrician who specializes in palliative care, had been called in to consult when a woman in her 70s arrived at the University of Colorado Hospital, unresponsive after a major stroke.

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