During the last years or so, there has been a struggle over the patient's role in medical decision making that is often characterized as a conflict between autonomy and health, between the values of the patient and the values of the physician. Seeking to curtail physician dominance, many have advocated an ideal of greater patient control. Others question this ideal because it fails to acknowledge the potentially imbalanced nature of this interaction whenone party is sick and searchingfor security, and when judgments entail the interpretation of technical information. Still others are trying todelineate a more mutual relationship. This struggle forces us to ask "What should be the ideal physician-patient relationship?"