From The Washington Post:
In April 2012, Michelle Langbehn was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects 1 percent of cancer patients in the United States. After nine months of chemotherapy, she and her doctor began looking into other potential treatment options, including a trial at the National Institutes of Health.
Langbehn began filling out the paperwork to apply last month. Things were going well until late September, when she got a call from the NIH: If the government shut down, the trial would not accept new patients.
We’re in week two of the government shutdown. The “shutdown” is infuriating for a variety of reasons; people aren’t getting paid, desperately needed resources are being withheld, national parks are closed (the last may seem to cower in comparison to the former – but do you know how devastating it is to the local economy when a park is shut down?) And now, we know that potential life-saving treatments are being withheld. This is just reprehensible.
These types of trials are often someone’s “last chance” at a treatment option. Most patients sign up for these trials because no other treatment options have worked. Not only are the Republicans in Congress okay with withholding paychecks, seemingly unaffected that WIC resources will soon run dry, and totally content to possibly shutdown Federal courts – at the end of this raging tantrum they’re throwing, they may literally have lives on their hands. Yes, I am calling it a tantrum because it so closely resembles what my toddler does when he doesn’t get his way; become dead weight and refuse to move.
Michelle had this message for Congress:
I want to tell them that lives are at stake. This isn’t just a matter of inconvenience. This is a matter of life or death. I’m not just doing this for myself. There are 200 people that are trying to get into clinical trials each week. I want to speak for all of us.
You can sign Michelle’s Change.org petition to help.