Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2012

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

NYC Circumcision Rule Challenged in Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed with a federal court seeks to block enforcement of a New York City regulation regarding an ancient Jewish circumcision ritual which city health officials say can spread infection and has killed two children since 2004.

During the ritual, the circumcision provider attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside, the Associated Press reported.

The new law requires people performing the ritual to inform parents that the city believes the procedure is dangerous and to have the parents sign a consent form. The city would not collect the forms, which would have to be kept for a year before being destroyed.

In their lawsuit, three rabbis and three Jewish groups contend that city health officials exaggerated the potential for harm and infringed on their religious freedom. In responding to the legal action, city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley issued a statement calling the new rule "lawful, appropriate and necessary." the AP reported.

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Oakland Sues U.S. Government to Stop Closure of Medical Marijuana Dispensary

The federal government's attempt to seize property leased to the largest medical marijuana supplier in the United States is being challenged by the City of Oakland.

The city on Wednesday filed a civil lawsuit in federal court to block the Department of Justice from seizing the property housing the nonprofit Harborside Health Center dispensary, The New York Times reported.

The dispensary employs 100 people and serves 112,000 clients, seeing 600 to 800 customers a day. Last year, Harborside paid $3.5 million taxes, including $1.1 million to the city.

"This lawsuit is about protecting the rights of legitimate medical patients," city attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement, The Times reported. "I am deeply dismayed that the federal government would seek to deny these rights and deprive thousands of seriously ill Californians of access to safe, affordable and effective medicine."

Federal prosecutors have boosted their efforts to close medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Oakland is the first city to file a lawsuit to protect a dispensary.

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Robin Roberts Leaves Hospital After Bone Marrow Transplant

"Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts has returned home from the hospital three weeks after she underwent a bone marrow transplant for a blood and bone marrow disease called MDS.

Roberts' sister was the donor, the Associated Press reported.

Leaving hospital is the first big step in her recovery, but it will take time for Roberts to build up her immune system and gather strength, her doctor said.

On Wednesday, "Good Morning America" aired a story about Roberts' homecoming, the AP reported.

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Posted: October 2012


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