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UNESCO Course on Benefit and Harm CASE STUDY: USE OF NEW MEDICAMENTS OR PROCEDURES 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 patient?