Successful Implantation of Ovary Frozen Prior to Puberty Gives Hope to Young Women Struggling with Fertility

For women who struggle with fertility as a result of damage to reproductive organs by radiation treatment for cancer and other health conditions, a breakthrough procedure in the United Kingdom may offer hope and a new alternative. Moaza Al Matrooshi became the first woman in the world to give birth to a child conceived from an ovary that was frozen before she entered puberty. Before undergoing chemotherapy for a blood disorder at the age of nine, Moaza decided to have her ovaries removed and frozen. Years later, at the age of twenty-four, she was able to give birth to a healthy baby after relying on in vitro fertilization to restore her fertility using the frozen ovaries. Moaza believes her pregnancy and childbirth are a true miracle.

From The Telegraph, “Woman Gives Birth to Baby Using Ovary Frozen in Her Childhood in ‘World First’

Excerpt from article:

“This is a huge step forward. We know that ovarian tissue transplantation works for older women, but we’ve never known if we could take tissue from a child, freeze it and make it work again.”

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“Females Finally Have Reproductive Autonomy in China – Or Do They? “

Over a year ago, President of China, Xi Jinping, reversed the one-child policy which limited couples to having one child and required all new mothers to receive an intrauterine device (IUD) as a form of birth control. Now, the Chinese government is encouraging couples to procreate in order to address concerns over the aging population and shrinking workforce.  It is encouraging women to remove their IUDs free of charge. However, the IUDs that most women in China received under the one-child policy can only be removed through surgery and many women remain bitter that it was not their choice to receive the IUD in the first place. They are outraged that the government has not apologized for controlling their reproductive autonomy and that, by encouraging them to undergo the surgery, the government is still pushing them towards making a particular decision they may not be interested in making.

From The New York Times, “After One-Child Policy, Outrage at China’s Offer to Remove IUDs”

Excerpt from article:

“The mass implantation of IUDs amounted to “involuntary, forced acts of mutilation,” Han Haoyue, a popular columnist, wrote in a post shared nearly 3,000 times on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. ‘And now, to say they are offering free removal as a service to these tens of millions of women — repeatedly broadcasting this on state television as a kind of state benefit — they have no shame, second to none.’”

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Relocating to Afford Medical Treatment

A recent CNN.com article follows two stories about families forced to relocate because of the lack of care their disabled children receive under Florida’s Medicaid program. Families and patients’ rights organizations have brought multiple cases against the state for poor management of the program. The spokesman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration stated that the problems occurred prior to the state’s transition to a managed care system; under the new system the problems have been resolved. However, parents are not willing to take that risk and are moving to states where providers will not refuse to see them due to delayed insurance payments and where life-saving medicines are easily accessible for their disabled children.

From Cnn.com, “Health care refugees: Family flees Florida to save daughter’s life”

Excerpt from article:

Like nearly half of all children in Florida, Abby has Medicaid, the state-run health insurance. Her parents say that instead of being helpful, Florida Medicaid refused to pay for lifesaving medicines and took so long to pay some of her health care providers that at times, they refused to treat her.

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Netherlands Man Suffering from Alcoholism Approved for Euthanasia

In an article dated November 30, 2016, The Washington Times reported that a forty-one-year-old man, Mark Langedijk, was recently approved to be euthanized in the Netherlands —pursuant to a law enacted to allow mercy killing for those undergoing unbearable suffering —due to his his struggle with alcoholism. The man had reportedly tried going to rehabilitative facilities twenty-one times, without success, and simply did not want to live anymore. Requests such as this must be reviewed and approved by a board of physicians.

From The Washington Times, “Mark Langedijk, Dutch Man, Euthanized Over Alcoholism”

Excerpt from article:

“Langedijk’s death demonstrates that Holland is a ‘dangerous place to have any physical or mental illness, to be struggling with any life challenges, or just to differ from what they might call normal.’”

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How Long is Too Long? Medical Interns Soon to Be Working Much Longer Hours

The current rules state that medical interns cannot work longer than 16 consecutive hours. This rule is in place to prevent accidents and mistakes as a result of fatigue. Recently, The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has proposed a change that would allow interns to work almost twice as long, for 28 hours without a break. The Council argues that this change would help expose interns to real-life practice. However, opponents of the rule argue that allowing these long hours is a severe risk to patients.

From npr.org, “Medical Interns Could Work Long Without A Break Under New Rule”

Excerpt from article:

“For years, medical interns have been limited to working no more than 16 hours without a break to minimize the chances they would make mistakes while fatigued. But that restriction could soon be eased.”

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Cuba Discovers Cancer Treatment, Yet Embargo Keeps It Out of Reach for U.S. Patients

The fast-growing biotechnology industry in Cuba has created a new cancer drug called Cimavax. The drug targets epidermal growth cells and allows the body to attack the cancer on its own. Cancer patients who use the drug are expected to live 3 to 5 months longer.  Yet, patients in the United States have limited access to the new treatment. The United States has imposed a trade embargo on Cuba that prevents the importation of goods such as medication and, therefore,  requires patients to travel to Cuba in order to receive the new treatment.

From NYTimes.com, “A Souvenir Smuggled Home From Cuba: A Cancer Vaccine”

Excerpt from article:

“The trial could take years, but American cancer patients are not waiting. Over the past couple of years, dozens have slipped into Havana and smuggled vials of the vaccine in refrigerated lunchboxes back to the United States, sometimes not even telling their doctors. Talk about Cimavax on cancer patient networks online has been escalating steadily as relations between the two countries have warmed and more patients are making preparations to go…”

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Tags: Cancer, Treatment, News, Research

Colorado Voters Speak on the Legalization of “Medical Aid in Dying”

Through a ballot initiative in last week’s election, Colorado became the fifth state to pass a “medical aid in dying” proposition.  Two-thirds of Colorado voters supported Proposition 106, which permits adults suffering from terminal illness, who have less than six months to live and are mentally competent, to self-administer a lethal dose of doctor-prescribed sleeping medication.  Opponents were concerned that the proposition lacks adequate safeguards, such as requiring a doctor to be present when the medication is administered. Yet, an overwhelming majority of voters supported the proposition, explaining that they have watched loved ones suffer through a terminal illness and believe they should have at least had the option to end their life with dignity.

From The Denver Post, “Colorado Passes Medical Aid in Dying, Joining Five Other States

Excerpt from article:

“Now we know that Coloradans believe that offering the option of medical aid in dying is the kind, compassionate, safe and just thing to do.”

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Selective Abortions for Women Carrying Multiple Fetuses Now Legal in Norway

In an article dated October 18, 2016, it was reported that “selective reduction”—the practice of aborting one or more healthy fetuses in a multifetal pregnancy while leaving another intact—is now legal in Norway. While proponents of the procedure say that selective reduction should not be thought of any differently than any other abortion procedure, opponents claim that the procedure should not be performed if the fetus is healthy, exposes the remaining fetus to unnecessary risks, and may lead to “abortion tourism” due to its unavailability in neighboring countries.

From The Independent, “Norway Allows Foreign Women Pregnant with Twins to Have Selective Abortions”

Excerpt from article:

“Dr Birgitte Heiberg Kahrs, a specialist in fetal medicine at St Olav’s Hospital in Oslo said: ‘We have not found any medical benefit from this. On the contrary, it exposes the second child in the womb to danger as the abortion risk increases.’”

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Removing Fetal Tumors In Utero

According to an October 20, 2016 article, a doctors in Texas removed a sacrococcygeal teratoma (a rare tumor found on the tailbone of a newborn) from a fetus by removing the fetus from the womb, performing the surgery and then placing the fetus back into the mother’s womb. The surgery was important for the mother because she had lost the fetus’s twin during her second trimester. Without the surgery, the fetus would compete with the tumor for blood supply and may have grown increasingly ill before birth. The child was born after a full-term pregnancy, begging the question: was the baby born twice?

From Cnn.com, “Meet the baby who was born twice”

Excerpt from article:

“As Cass describes it, first their obstetrician tells them there’s something wrong and then they’re told there’s nothing that can be done and their babies will die and then a surgeon tells them there’s something that can be done. Amazingly, some end with a healthy baby.”

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Transgender Men Fighting Breast Cancer: The Difficulties in Accessing Care

In an article dated October 16, 2016, Eli Oberman, a transgender man discusses the social and medical difficulties he faced when diagnosed with breast cancer, including discrimination by health care providers. There are roughly 1.4 million transgender individuals in the United States and only recently has the federal government lifted the ban on Medicare coverage for transgender healthcare. New York State lifted a similar ban under its Medicaid program. However, there is still a lack of trust in health care providers among the transgender community, and a lack of knowledge of transgender health care needs among the medical community, that create barriers to accessing much needed health care.

From NYTimes.com, “Living as a Man, Fighting Breast Cancer: How Trans People Face Care Gaps”

Excerpt from article:

During one procedure, when Mr. Oberman had his shirt off, a male technician, seeing that he was transgender, exclaimed: “Why would you do this to yourself? It’s disgusting.”

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