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TORRANCE, Calif.—Rod Hochman vividly remembers watching his father die the wrong way, laid out by a stroke at age 78, hooked up to a ventilator and an intravenous drip in an ICU, his last hours spent in a hospital. It was the most aggressive care modern medicine could offer, and the family later came to understand that it was unlikely to save him. It was not how he wanted to end his days.

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