News

Government Shutdown Furloughs Medical Research as National Institutes of Health Is Running on Skeleton Crew; Patients Turned Away

By Staff Writer | October 04, 2013 02:11 PM EDT

A lot of Americans say they are sick of how Congress is handling the health care debate, but furloughed workers at the National Institutes of Health are blocked from studying treatments.The Government shutdown is bad for your health.

The federal government shutdown has put a halt to NIH drug trials as medical researchers are being forced to stall preclinical research.

Normally, about 200 patients a week enroll at The National Institutes of Health for ongoing trials of experimental therapies. Right now about 73% of NIH staff have been blocked from entering the facility, which is being operated by a skeleton crew. The NIH is unable to begin new studies. NIH researchers are turning patients away.

The shutdown does not affect patients who are already enrolled in medical studies. The Washington Post reports that while those patients are still receiving treatment and skeleton crews are still able to check on existing preclinical work and take evidence on research animals, the government shutdown is trampling ongoing research. A furloughed NIH director told The Washington Post that the remaining staff is reduced to making sure "the cells in the Petri dishes don't die."

Most of the furloughs affect the Institutes' nonclinical operations. The NIH has been able to keep about 2,500 of their staff at work to maintain patient care at the NIH's Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.

According to a Health and Human Services memo, the center will run at roughly 90% capacity in the first weeks of the shutdown. The NIH isn't kicking sick people out of the hospital. There are about 200 patients enrolled at the NIH in a normal week. The agency says they are usually treating about 30 children at any given time, 10 of them with cancer.

NIH spokesman John Burklow told the Washington Post, "Everyone feels absolutely awful. It's antithetical to our mission and why we're all here. ... If you have a child who needs help, even if you're told, 'Well, we can't help you today,' it just creates anxiety and frustration, I'm sure."

The government shutdown also halted action on grant applications and awards and on the White House-supported research program, the BRAIN Initiative. NIH has pledged $40 million to that program.

House Republicans introduced a bill to restore NIH's funding and allow it to get back to trial enrollment on Wednesday. Democrats are adamant about reopening the entire government. About 800,000 federal workers have been sent home without pay since the shutdown began Tuesday.

Tagged :  world news, Government Shutdown, Medical Research, NIH

Featured

Scandals 12.02.16 | 05:37PM EST

VIXX fans club Starlight is digging into suspicious relationship between fan and one of the members

Fans club Starlight was reportedly alarmed with the alleged relationship between a mysterious female fan and one VIXX member, Leo. Members of the fan club demand an explanation.

Oversea Event 12.02.16 | 04:10PM EST

TWICE, BTS and EXO win big at MAMA 2016: See full list of winners here!

TWICE, BTS and EXO all won big at the recently-concluded MAMA 2016. Check out the full list of winners here!

Major Artist 12.02.16 | 01:54PM EST

Fans fall in love with Shinhwa's new track ‘Orange’

Shinhwa's adorable and fluffy concept is back and fans are sure to fall in love in just seconds.

12.03.16 | 05:16AM EST

Jung Il Woo To Enlist Soon Despite Cerebral Aneurysm

Jung II Woo to enlist despite aneurysm

Comeback / Teaser / Music Video 12.02.16 | 05:49PM EST

Up and close with idol group Astro: Playing funny game, exposing hidden charm

Astro, the rookie group from Fantagio Entertainment, made another appearance in entertainment talk show “Weekly Idol.” They shared their nicknames to the audience.

KpopStarz Is Looking For Enthusiastic Entertainment Contributors Reach Millions On The Web.
Real Time Analytics