One of the Sadder Government Shutdown Story You’ll Read Today

A Bourne man is one of many who can’t participate in clinical cancer trials while the government remains partially shuttered.

Updated Oct. 4, 2013: Dana Farber Cancer Institute released a statement to announce they have “overcome issues generated by the recent government shutdown,” with help from the NIH and Rep. William Keating and will be enrolling new patients. Thank goodness for that.

Original: As the federal government’s partial shutdown (or “slimdown” as Fox News is calling it today) marches ever onward, there are ever more compelling examples of reasons it makes sense to have your fights over the size of government while keeping the doors of government open.

The Boston Business Journal has the incredibly frustrating story of Leo Finn, a Bourne, Massachusetts resident. Finn was diagnosed with bile duct cancer, and after six months, his chemotherapy treatments stopped working. So he’s enrolled in a clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to receive a drug that’s shown success with thyroid cancer:

But on Monday, Finn learned that the trial, set to begin next Wednesday, would be delayed because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it yet. That won’t happen, Finn said his doctor told him, until the federal shutdown ends.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Dana Farber couldn’t comment on any specific drug trial. But Bruce Johnson, chief clinical research officer, said in a statement that “due to the shutdown, new trials cannot be opened at this moment using the existing regulations.”

Finn’s not alone. There are plenty of stories coming out about patients enrolled in clinical medical trials who can’t get treatments for their terminal illnesses. It makes you rethink the assurances of some conservatives who downplayed the shutdown’s impact in its early hours, as when Sarah Palin said on Fox News, “All this hysteria anyway, Sean, over a partial government shutdown is exactly that. It is hysteria. There isn’t going to be actual government shutdown as long as we prioritize funding for those most important functions of our federal government.”

Does that mean lawmakers have officially prioritized keeping the WWII monument open above medical research? As we figure out that people like Leo Finn’s faer of an extended government shutdown isn’t just hysteria, can we agree to cease debating whether it matters that the government be funded and go back to debating how to fund it?

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  • ohio man

    That is horribly sad.

    The government shutdown debate isn’t even really about how to fund the government — it’s not about taxes or spending. For the GOP, it’s all about the health insurance expansion. Of course, you can’t point to future victims impacted by not having health insurance, but there would be many more people hurt by that if the Dems capitulated, including people who will die, out of the millions who don’t have healthcare now but will in January.

    • Tony

      If ACA was repealed today, the millions, who do not have health care now , will have health care on 1 Jan 2014 just like they do now via the ER.
      The story addressed by this article is based on the assumption that the “new cancer drug” will work. False hopes are raised on a daily basis by medical researchers who are more interesting in capturing taxpayer fund via federal grants.
      BTW I support national health insurance programs such as the Canadian, UK, French, German, Swiss,etc. ACA has 4 levels of coverage 60%, 70%, 80% and 90% where premiums range from 0% of Adjusted Gross Income for the 60% Bronze Plan (60% under 20K AGI) to 25% of AGI for a 90% Platinum Pan with an AGI of 50K. Under Medicare everyone gets the same coverage regardless of income.
      Ms Pelosi stated that the ACA had to be passed so we could find out what was in it. It was passed and the people who have looked at the provisions of the ACA seem to be in agreement that it is an Obamaination.

  • Terminator

    cannabis oil cures cancer all these clinics just want money. They don’t care about the cancer patients just getting a fat check.

  • lessthantolerant

    This story should show one that government is too big and too intrusive. Another business which needs government infusion of cash to operate.
    Too many businesses and people need government as their partner to survive.