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Turned Away

While essential staff at the US National Institutes of Health continues to care for patients at the Clinical Center during the federal government shut down, new patients will not be admitted unless it is "medically necessary," NPR writes. Patients coming to the center often have cancer, a rare genetic disease, or an infection that hasn't been successfully treated elsewhere.

NIH Director Francis Collins says some 200 patients will be turned away each week, including 30 children, most with cancer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"How would you feel as a parent of a child with cancer," Collins says to NPR, "hoping that somehow NIH and its clinical center might provide some rescue from a very difficult situation, to hear that, frankly, you can't come, because the government won't be able to stay open."

In addition, NPR says that four new studies were to get underway there this week, but won't, and new patients won't be enrolled in the 1,400 or so studies examining new drugs or cancer treatments that are already ongoing.