Health Highlights: July 17, 2017

By on July 17, 2017

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

McCain’s Surgery Delays Senate Health Care Bill Vote

This week’s scheduled vote on a Senate Republican health care bill has been delayed because Senator John McCain will be absent as he recovers from surgery he had Friday to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

The delay on the bill to repeal and replace major provisions of the Affordable Care Act was announced Saturday night by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Without McCain, the Republicans would not have enough votes for the bill, The New York Times reported.

It’s not clear how long the delay will last.

This is the latest setback in Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act. Both the Republican-controlled House and Senate have failed to pass a bill. The delay gives opponents of the current Senate bill more time to fight it, The Times reported.

Critics include the insurance industry lobby, the association that represents Blue Cross Blue Shield, consumer groups, patient advocates and organizations representing doctors, hospitals, drug abuse treatment centers and religious leaders.

Opinion polls show the Senate bill to be highly unpopular. After the delay was announced, congressional aides, lobbyists and state officials urged Senate leaders to change their approach, The Times reported.

The bill, drafted mainly by McConnell, has been severely criticized by governors from both parties.


Dozens of Contact Lenses Found in Woman’s Eye

Doctors in England say they found 27 contact lenses in a patient’s eye when she was being prepped for cataract surgery.

The lenses in the 67-year-old woman’s eye were clumped together in a “blueish mass” and were “bound together by mucus,” according to an article in the British Medical Journal, the Washington Post reported.

The patient had worn monthly contact lenses for 35 years, but rarely saw an eye doctor during those years.

The doctors were confused by how all the contact lenses got there, but wrote that the patient had “deep set eyes, which might have contributed to the unusually large number of retained foreign bodies,” they wrote in the article.

Two weeks after the contact lenses were removed, the woman told doctors her eye felt much more comfortable, the Post reported.


U.S. Doctor to Assess Charlie Gard

An American doctor specializing in treating rare genetic conditions has traveled to England to assess Charlie Gard.

Over the next few days, Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University will meet with the child’s mother, Connie Yates, and specialists caring for the critically ill 11-month-old, the Associated Press reported.

Charlie has a rare genetic disease called mitochondrial depletion syndrome. He is brain-damaged and unable to breathe unaided.

His parents are embroiled in a legal fight to get permission to take Charlie to the United States for treatment. However, doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital say a new treatment won’t benefit Charlie and could make him suffer, the AP reported.

Hirano’s visit was arranged during a court hearing last week after he testified it was worth trying the the new treatment.


Tuskegee Syphilis Study Descendents Group Seeks Remaining Settlement Money

Any money remaining from a $9 million legal settlement over a U.S. government study that left hundreds of black men untreated for syphilis should be awarded to their descendents, a group says.

The money could be used for college scholarships and a memorial garden, said Lillie Tyson Head, the president of the Voices of our Fathers Legacy Foundation, an organization for descendents of men in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the Associated Press reported.

A county-owned museum in Tuskegee has separately requested the funds, but the decision should be up to the descendants, Head said. Her group has asked a judge to withhold a decision on the money until the foundation can hire a lawyer and file documents in a class action lawsuit over the study.

Beginning in 1932, government medical workers in rural Alabama withheld treatment from unsuspecting black men who had syphilis so that doctors could follow progression of the disease and examine the men’s bodies after they died. The study was halted after it was revealed by the AP in 1972.

All of the approximately 600 men in the study are now dead. More than 6,000 of their heirs received settlement payments through the decades, but an undisclosed amount remains in court-controlled accounts, according to court officials, who say they cannot find additional descendants, the AP reported.

Court documents say the remaining amount of money as “relatively small” interest earnings.


7 Million Lbs of Hot Dog and Sausage Products Recalled

More than 7 million pounds of beef and pork hot dog and sausage products distributed by Marathon Enterprises of Bronx, N.Y. have been recalled because they may contain bone fragments.

The products were produced on various dates between March 17, 2017 and July 4, 2017, and have the establishment number “EST. 8864” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were shipped to retail and institutional locations across the U.S, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

One minor mouth injury has been reported in connection with the recalled products, according to FSIS.

It said consumers who bought the products should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

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