Download UNESCO Course on Benefit and Harm CASE STUDY: USE OF NEW

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UNESCO Course on
Benefit and Harm
Mrs. CS, a 78-year-old widow, has terminal cancer. She was admitted
to the hospital, where she has undergone extensive treatments for her
cancer. She was treated with extensive chemotherapy and all of the
technological means that offer the best hopes for recovery. The
treatments however were not effective in curing or even arresting her
cancer. Her condition has steadily deteriorated and her prognosis is
poor; death is imminent.
Because conventional treatment has not been successful, Mrs. CS
wishes to use an alternative drug in an effort to cure or arrest the
course of her cancer. This drug is a chemical compound extracted
from the kernels of apricots that over the years has been
recommended for the treatment of cancer.
The drug is not generally recognized by qualified experts as a safe
and effective cancer drug, but various proponents of the drug have
claimed that it can cure or control the spread of cancer, or at least
can mitigate the symptoms of the disease without curing it.
This drug has not been approved by the Food and Drug
Administration or the National Cancer Society. It has not been
proven as an accepted method for the treatment of cancer. Hence, the
hospital in which Mrs. CS is being treated, exercising its best medical
judgment, refuses to allow Mrs. CS or any other hospitalized patient
therein to be treated with the alternative drug.
Should Mrs. CS be permitted to take a drug whose
use is not sanctioned by the hospital where she is a