It has been said that the 1970s was the decade of advancing patient rights, that the 1980s was the decade of unprecedented expansion of medical technology, and that the 1990s will be the decade of conflict and, hopefully, coalescence between the two. As exciting as life-prolonging medical advances are, they provide fodder and fertile ground for ethical conflicts and dilemmas. One of the debates that is raging loudly has to do with treatment that is felt to be medically futile; those interventions that, while available, are unlikely to improve the patient’s condition or quality of life.