At age twenty-one, Abigail Kathleen Burroughs met a fate usually reserved for aged men who have spent much of their lives drinking and smoking. Diagnosed with cancer at nineteen, Abigail battled the squamous cell carcinoma that invaded her body even as she struggled to maintain her characteristic optimism. Abigail struggled with more than her illness, however. In the last years of her life, Abigail and her family also wrestled with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations that denied her access to medication that could have saved her life. The policy at issue was the FDA's practice of progressive testing, which requires that experimental drugs pass at least three testing phases before the FDA will grant approval for commercial marketing and public access to a drug. For Abigail, the process proved too long. This policy denied her the experimental drug, Erbitux, a cancer-fighting drug that Abigail's oncologist believed had a significant chance of saving her life. Despite her doctor's dedication and her family's continuing support, Abigail died in 2001 - just two years after being diagnosed with the fast-moving cancer.
Note, Dying to Wait: How the Abigail Court Got It Wrong, 22 J.L. & Health 53 (2009)