The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Shutdown Blocks Care For Kids With Cancer

@AFP

Washington (AFP) – The government shutdown could block hundreds of cancer patients, including children, from entering last-ditch clinical trials for treatment, a spokesman for the National Institutes of Health told AFP Wednesday.

About three quarters of the staff at the NIH, which operates the largest research hospital in the world, has been placed on unpaid leave indefinitely.

While the NIH Clinical Center is continuing to treat patients, it is operating at “roughly 90 percent of normal patient load,” said an agency memo.

“NIH would not admit new patients (unless deemed medically necessary by the NIH Director), or initiate new protocols,” during a funding hiatus, the memo said.

That means about 200 patients will be turned away from treatment at the Clinical Center each week the shutdown persists, including about 30 children, a spokesman told AFP.

About 10 of those children have cancer, he added.

There are some 1,400 clinical trials ongoing at the NIH center, and four new ones ready to start next week will have to be postponed until the government resumes work, he said.

“Just to be clear, we aren’t turning patients away permanently -— we would be delaying their admission, since we are not enrolling new patients at this time,” spokesman John Burklow said in an email.

The NIH has furloughed 14,700 employees, but more than 2,500 staff are staying on to manage patient care, said the agency memo.

The Clinical Center is a place where patients are admitted “only when standard medical treatments have failed, and other treatment options are not available. As a result, they have no other alternatives,” the memo said.

Some 800,000 federal workers across the capital and beyond have been told to stay home from work without pay, in the first U.S. government shutdown in 17 years.

The shutdown came after Democrats refused to give in to Republican lawmakers’ demands for a rollback of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, which Congress passed in 2010 and was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Leopard 2 tanks

This is the latest report in my months-long coverage of the war in Ukraine. For more reporting like this, and to read my screeds about the reprehensible Republican Party, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.

Keep reading...Show less
Youtube Screenshot

With Republicans once again setting the stage for gridlock in Congress over raising the U.S. Treasury's statutory debt limit, and using interviews to push disingenuous analogies comparing the federal government’s budgeting practices to that of an average American household. The real danger is that mainstream media could fall for this misleading comparison and pressure Democrats into enacting painful cuts to popular social programs, while also letting Republicans off the hook for their role in manufacturing this crisis in the first place.

These comparisons between federal and household budgets go back many years, and they ignore some glaring differences: Unlike a household or business, the U.S. government issues its own currency and can roll over its own debt. The political utility of this comparison, however, is that it has enabled conservatives to target social programs, while they avoid answering for their own role in running up the public debt through unfunded tax cuts under Republican administrations.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}