The case of Dax Cowart illustrates the complexity of issues such as autonomy, paternalism, and quality of life. As the result of a freak accident in the summer of 1973, 25 year-old Dax Cowart was badly burned over 65% of his body. Both eyes, both ears and both hands were damaged beyond repair. Large doses of narcotics were required for minimal pain relief. He pleaded with his caregivers to be allowed to die, and also stated several times that he wanted to kill himself. The physicians at Parkland Hospital in Texas turned to his mother to obtain consent for all his treatments, even though she was not appointed his legal guardian and even though Dax was determined by psychiatric evaluation to have full decision-making capacity. There was a constant struggle of will between Dax and his mother. Ultimately, he recovered from the burns, albeit severely mutilated. He successfully sued the oil company responsible for his burns, which left him financially secure. Later, he attended law school at Baylor University. He attempted suicide twice after his rehabilitation period. He eventually finished law school and married. He now apparently is happy, but still believes the doctors were wrong to follow his mother’s wishes over his. The case advanced respect for patient autonomy all around the country.