Health Highlights: June 13, 2013
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Surgeon General Stepping Down
After four years in the post, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin will step down next month.
She made the announcement Wednesday in an e-mail to staff and thanked them for supporting her efforts, CNN reported.
"My goal was to create a grassroots movement, to change our health care system from one focused on sickness and disease to a system focused on wellness and prevention. With your help, that movement has begun," Benjamin wrote in the e-mail.
As surgeon general, the Alabama-native chaired the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. It was created under the Affordable Care Act to find ways to improve access to care.
Deputy Surgeon General Boris Lushniak will serve as interim surgeon general until a new permanent Surgeon General is nominated, CNN reported.
10-Year-Old Girl's Double-Lung Transplant Successful: Family
Sarah Murnaghan's double-lung transplant on Wednesday was successful, her family says. She's the 10-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis whose parents won a legal fight to get their daughter on the adult lung transplant waiting list.
The procedure to give Sarah new lungs from an adult donor was performed at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and lasted about six hours, the Associated Press reported.
"Her doctors are very pleased with both her progress during the procedure and her prognosis for recovery," the family said in a statement.
"The surgeons had no challenges resizing and transplanting the donor lungs -- the surgery went smoothly, and Sarah did extremely well," it said, the AP reported. "She is in the process of getting settled in the ICU and now her recovery begins. We expect it will be a long road, but we're not going for easy, we're going for possible."
U.S. House Committee Passes Anti-Abortion Bill
A bill to ban nearly all abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy was approved Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
The 20-12 vote on the Republican-sponsored Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was spilt along party lines, The New York Times reported.
A vote by the full House could take place as early as next week, but it's almost certain that the bill will go no further due to opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
In response to criticism from Democrats that the bill contained no exception for rape victims, Republican Representative Trent Franks of Arizona said that instances of pregnancies from rape were "very low." Opponents said his remark is an example of Republican insensitivities to women's issues, The Times reported.
Judge Clears Way for Sale of Morning-After Pills Without Prescription
A U.S. federal judge's ruling Wednesday clears the way for the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive pill and its generic versions to be available to girls of all ages without a prescription.
In his decision, Judge Edward Korman of the Eastern District Court of New York said the government's plan to make the morning-after drugs available over the counter was sufficient to comply with his order that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remove all sales and age restrictions for these drugs, The New York Times reported.
His ruling came in a case in which plaintiffs represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights asked Korman to reject the federal government's proposal because it did not include the two-pill versions of the drug.
The two-pill versions are fast being replaced by one-pill versions, but the plaintiffs said the two-pill versions are cheaper and that there is no significant difference between the two- and one-pill versions, The Times reported.
However, the FDA has said there is not enough evidence to show that young women can responsibly take two separate doses instead of just one.