Do we really need Lou Gehrig’s medical records

40 Comments

This is kind of weird:

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn makes no bones about it: She wants the Mayo Clinic to release New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig’s medical records. Monday, she will introduce a bill permitting just that … Kahn’s bill would change state law to permit a records release without consent if the patient has been dead at least 50 years; Gehrig passed away in 1941. The records could remain sealed if a heath directive prevents it, or if a direct descendant objects. Gehrig died childless, so unless a will gets in the way, the public could have at it.

The reason for interest in Gehrig’s records is that stuff from last year in which it was speculated that, rather than ALS, he may have died from some sort of disorder that, while manifesting itself like ALS, was really the result of multiple concussions he suffered during his athletic career.

I know a lot of people will probably freak about this because we’ve gone insane about privacy in this country. Yes, I acknowledge that identify theft and insurance discrimination and all of that is a problem and I agree that safeguards have to be in place to protect folks, but the rhetoric surrounding “privacy” has gone beyond reason and is in fetish territory. Spend some time with a lawyer who does a lot of Freedom of Information Act requests and find out how much privacy you really have. Less than you think, I bet, and it’s generally OK.

Personally I would hope that a bill like the one proposed here is driven less by mere historical curiosity and more by actual medical utility (i.e. researchers can find value in looking over old medical records).  But really, if you’re dead 50 years, you’re dead 50 years and I don’t see any grounds for objection beyond appeals to amorphous privacy concerns.

Aaron Boone interviewed for the Yankees manager job today

Getty Images
1 Comment

MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that ESPN broadcaster Aaron Boone interviewed for the Yankees’ manager job today. No word as to whether he hit a big home run.

Boone, an ESPN analyst, obviously has some history with the Yankees, but he has no coaching experience at any level. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote earlier this week of Boone that the Yankees “are intrigued if his charisma and passion can compensate for inexperience.” I’d say the answer to that question, whenever asked and in whatever context, is always “no,” but I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

So far the Yankees have interviewed Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge and Hensley Meulens. Yesterday Brian Cashman said there was no rush to fill the job, and that the Winter Meetings are not a deadline for the team in doing so.