In America, too many people die in the hospital.

I don’t mean that they die due to medical error or incompetence, though that’s always a hot topic of discussion amongst doctors, researchers, administrators, and regulators.

What I mean is that if you ask most people, they say they’d rather die at home, surrounded by their loved ones, drifting off to sleep painlessly after having had last rites administered (feel free to plug in your religious/atheistic ritual of choice here).

Why, then, do so many who want this type of death instead die medically, here in the hospital, undergoing painful treatment and the deprivations and degradations of medical care?

The answer has both simple and complex aspects.  But I’ll start by sharing something that most medical professionals believe:

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