The culmination of the decade-long process of bringing strangers to the bedside came in the case of Karen Ann Quinlan. Although the Quinlan case had many layers and contexts, legal, medical, theological, ethical, and popular, the heart of the decision involved not so much a patients "right to die" but something more specific and elemental. The court confronted the challenge of the Quinlan case head-on, insisting that the questions raised transcended medical authority. The grand jury response, with a good deal of guidance from the state's attorneys, exemplified both the strength of the patient-lawyer alliance around autonomy and the differences between a legal and medical orientation. The great majority of bioethicists, as this incident suggests, came down on the side of the Quinlans, elevating individual rights over medical authority. In the end, the initial commitment of bioethics to patient rights helps account for its extraordinary accomplishments in the decade from 1966 to 1976.