Dr. Joel Rowe’s article for The Atlantic makes the humanitarian case for advance directives in allowing terminally ill people to die with as much dignity as may be possible:
My mom had prepared me for the worst day of my life. I was equipped with her advance directive, stating that after a short trial of invasive measures, she did not wish to remain on life support. She was made comfortable with medications. After the machines were disconnected and her heart stopped beating naturally, doctors did not perform chest compressions or any further interventions. For the rest of my life, I’ll live in gratitude for her last, invaluable gift—readying us both for her death before it happened.