Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up, 1/24-1/30

By Daniel Albert-Rozenberg

1) After the United Network for Organ Sharing implemented new rules for kidney sharing last week, the medical community is now calling for reformation of the heart allocation system. As it stands, the risk of dying within 90 days of being placed on a heart transplant wait list is 10 times greater for patients with the most risk factors than for those with the fewest.

2) The Supreme Court has granted Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious nonprofit organization that takes care of the elderly poor, temporary reprieve on enforcement of the contraceptive coverage mandate.  SCOTUS will hear two other cases on the mandate brought by secular, for-profit corporations in March.

3) On Tuesday, the House passed a bill to ban health law subsidies for abortion coverage. The bill stands virtually no chance of being passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and has already been threatened by the white house to be vetoed, should it ever get that far.

4) The Obama administration is encouraging defense lawyers to suggest inmates whom the president might let out of prison early as part of an attempt to undo sentencing discrepancies that began during the crack epidemic decades ago. These discrepancies targeted primarily poorer, African-American drug users who purchased crack, rather than more expensive powder cocaine.

5) After Marlise Muñoz has been laid to rest, her family is speaking out about the law that prevented her end-of-life wishes from being carried out. After a lengthy trial weighing Marlise’s rights against the rights of her unborn fetus (championed by the Texas hospital and pro-life base), the judge ruled that Marlise legally died when the medical community ruled her “brain dead” on November 28, 2013.

6) Following the death of a 14-year-old who walked away from his Queens school, the U.S. federal government will finance devices to track children with autism or other conditions that put them at risk for fleeing their caregivers. The federal government already finances similar measures for elderly people with Alzheimer’s.

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