Jeff’s Office Steps in During Government Shutdown to Make Sure Life-Saving Surgery Happens

In the summer of 2013, Carol Beeston suffered a serious heart attack and — though doctors had repaired some damage to her heart — she needed yet another surgery. In September, her doctors asked the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to approve their use of a new medical device that would save Carol’s failing heart.

Carol, her family, and her doctors expected the FDA’s decision within the usual 30-day time frame. A specialist from the University of Washington planned to travel to Portland to assist in the procedure. Meanwhile, Carol’s health continued to deteriorate. When the government shut down in October, Carol’s doctors still had yet to hear from the FDA. Carol’s life was in danger.

As soon as Jeff Merkley heard Carol’s story, he and his staff jumped in to help. Carol’s medical team needed the FDA’s decision by 5pm on Friday, October 18th; otherwise, the medical team would need to postpone Ms. Beeston’s surgery. Jeff’s staff contacted the FDA immediately and made sure a representative picked up Carol’s application and reviewed it that same afternoon. The FDA approved the application, and doctors successfully performed surgery on Carol the following Monday.

This is an exceedingly fortunate outcome. Had the government shutdown lasted even one day longer, Carol’s life would have been seriously jeopardized. The cycle of political brinksmanship carried out by a few extremists in Congress can cause real harm to real Oregonians. Jeff believes we must end the cycle of brinksmanship that has Congress governing from one manufactured crisis to another and get back to the real work of building a country that works for the middle class.