However, some repercussions are more serious than others. One very serious side effect of the shutdown is that upwards of 200 patients per week are being turned away from clinical trials administered and overseen by various federal agencies including the NIH and FDA.
Many of these patients are battling potentially imminently fatal diseases including serious forms of cancer. One such patient is Michelle Langbehn (pictured above in Wash Post photo), who is battling a rare, but dangerous form of cancer called sarcoma.
NIH Director, Francis Collins, explained to the Wall Street Journal (behind pay wall) that up to 30 children, most facing life-threatening cancers, will be turned away:
At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.
The shutdown does not affect existing clinical trial patients, but blocks new patient enrollment. For some patients this could mean not getting live-saving treatments.
Langbehn has started a petition to remedy this potentially devastating situation. The petition has reached almost 100,000 signatures, but needs about 50,000 more.
Sign it! I did.