A recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a doctor's unilateral right to deny life-sustaining medical treatment to a patient over the family's objections. Attention needs to turn now to another life and death situation that is often bewildering and sometimes fraught with abuse: the do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decision when made by a family on behalf of a loved one. Physicians will often seek a DNR consent from a family member when an older patient is brought into the hospital. Their approach can be overly aggressive. I experienced this several years ago when my mother was hospitalized with a serious infection.