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Section: Halacha   Category: Health
Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & ybc"l Rav Elyashiv - Paying For Treatment When The Doctors Have Given Up
The Nishmas Avrohom writes (2:155:12) that he asked Rav Noivert about a case where the Doctors have totally given up on a cancer patient and the patient wants to travel to a place to receive very expensive alternative treatment that is not recognized at all by the medical world and has no proof that it works.  The question was if one may persuade the patient not to go, even if the patient is paying for it himself.  The second question is, is there an obligation for others to finance this if the patient doesn't have the means to pay for it himself?

Rav Noivert answered that no one should try to talk the patient out of it, even if the doctors feel that the treatment is totally useless.  However on the other hand said Rav Noivert, there is no obligation for anyone to pay for it.  Furthermore he writes that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach held that if you give a private donation you may not deduct it from Maaser money, and the Gabbai Tzedaka may not give money from public funds.

He brings that he heard from Rav Elyashiv that if the psychological lift the patient will get from this false ray of hope will give him the strength to live a bit longer, then you must help him financially even from Maaser money.  If this will not help him live longer then there is no obligation.  Similarly, Rav Shlomo Zalman holds that although this is not tzedaka, it is still Chesed and a small amount may be given from Maaser money.

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha.  We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.