The shutdown at the NIH
Among those entering the gates at the National Institutes of Health’s Bethesda campus Thursday morning was Thomas Clay, 56, who had only arrived in the Washington area a few weeks ago to take part in a clinical trial.
He remembered the feeling of dread that swept over him when he heard the government was shutting down. He was one of the fortunate ones: he was already enrolled in a trial focused on treating his lymphoma, so he could continue his twice weekly visits.
But he saw the impact of the shutdown firsthand: fewer staff members, a closed cafeteria and fewer shuttles to help patients get around the vast campus. “They work so hard, and you could see the strain and stress,” he said. “Many of the staff members said they would be happy to work for free but that was against the law.”
Clay, who is from a small town in Tennessee, will complete his treatments in December so he won’t have to worry should there be another shutdown come January. But he does worry about the doctors and nurses who have taken care of him.
“I just hope they don’t have to go through this again,” he said.
The scene at Medical Center on the Red Line home of NIH pic.twitter.com/osWoiOgG6P
— lori aratani (@loriara) October 17, 2013