In medicine, heroic refers to a treatment or course of therapy which possesses a high risk of causing further damage to a patient's health, but is undertaken as a last resort with the understanding that any lesser treatment will surely result in failure.
Heroic measures are often taken in cases of grave injury or illness, as a last-ditch attempt to save life, limb, or eyesight. Examples include emergency trauma surgery conducted outside the operating room (such as "on-scene" surgical amputation, cricothyroidotomy, or thoracotomy), or administration of medication (such as certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs) at dosage levels high enough to potentially cause serious or fatal side effects.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a particularly well-known heroic measure; vigorous chest compressions often result in fracturing one or more of the patient's ribs, but since the alternative is certain death, the technique is accepted as necessary.
Vermont's Choices for the Dying (Posted 2013-05-16 22:24:08) ; Vermont's Legislature Is the First to Pass an Aid-in-Dying Bill Which Will Give Options to the Terminally Ill in Choosing How They Want to Die
May 16, 2013; My best friend Cynthia Recupero has tried to get me to promise to help her die someday, if she's terminally ill and can't do it...