By: Jordan Silver

Medical Privacy In The Public Eye

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According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) your health records can only be shared with other health care professionals as long instapax.com as it’s directly related to your care. Doctors can share your information with other health care providers or a nursing home. They cannot, however, release your records to the media, post it on Facebook or take a billboard in Times Square. In fact, they are not allowed to talk about specifics in an elevator or in the hospital’s hall.

Somehow public figures seem to be immune from this treatment. Granted, it’s rare that specifics come out, but when they do, public figures are entitled to a right to privacy. Last summer we all followed Jason Pierre Paul’s saga after his fireworks accident. As fans, we did have a right to know that he was injured and unable to play. As a person, he is entitled to the details of his injury to be kept private.

Last week news leaked (ooooh, bad pun, sorry) that Matt Harvey suffered from what was essentially a urinary tract infection. At first we heard “blood clot” which is scary enough. Blood clots are (1) hard to detect unless specifically tested for and (2) potentially deadly. In the short term, we should all be happy that his condition wasn’t serious. Anyone who’s ever had an UTI knows the discomfort that’s associated with it.

The Mets’ ace right-hander didn’t appreciate the way his medical condition was handled by the media. He has a point. He is entitled to a certain level of privacy. When “Fred From Freehold” calls into a station and his entire topic is “the habits of Harvey” and “we need him,” yada yada yada, you have to feel a level of invasion. His partying habits were called to question. Heck, even some speculated that the UTI was only a mask from sort of more serious ailment or injury. Harvey decided that he needed to boycott the media – certainly his right.

Matt Harvey isn’t the first ball player or person in the public eye to be given this sort of scrutiny. Certainly, the UTI was totally irrelevant to any baseball-related activities. During the 1980 World Series, there was commentary regarding how all-star (and eventual hall of famer) George Brett would be able to perform while suffering from hemorrhoids. He had a surgical procedure and the announcers wondered if he would be able to slide. On February 28, 1981, The New York Times reported that Brett left spring training to undergo surgery to have them removed. Somehow I don’t think that the words American League Most Valuable Player and hemorrhoids will again ever appear in the same paragraph.

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate. While initial tests showed no signs of cancer, every news station had a graphic showing the cross section of male genitalia. Al Franken, on Saturday Night Live, did a great skit where he winced and hemmed and hawed as he described the president’s procedure. Comedic gold.

Now granted when the leader of the free world has any kind of surgery – no matter the condition –  it will cause the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop or rise (depending on the outcome). Somehow when the pitcher for the Mets has a similar condition the only telling metric is his fantasy profile.

It’s very easy to get forget that athletes or other public figures are indeed people. Just because they make six- and seven-figure salaries doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be afforded the same courtesies and privacies that the non-famous enjoy. Further, we need to remember that the Mets’ crop of pitchers are all young men. They are sensitive and can and do get hurt feelings. And ailments that deserve to be kept discreet.

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Jordan Silver has been a journalist and marketing/multimedia consultant for over twenty years. He has produced documentaries and television productions both nationally and internationally. Aside from his own blog which observes politics and modern culture, he has been published in the Miami Herald, ABCNews.com and various other publications. His company Ag Media Solutions, Inc. represents several boutique firms and religious organizations as their outsourced marketing department. In addition, his apparel line, Mondo Monster Wear , features designs that parody sports and pop culture.

He enjoys wine, cooking, golf, vintage movies and researching history and politics. In addition, he shares his love of the Mets, NY Giants, NY Rangers and music (The Beatles, RUSH and 80s Heavy Metal) with his two children. He lives on Long Island and can be found most summer weekend days on the beach or boat with his girlfriend and their blended families.

About Jordan Silver

Jordan Silver has been a journalist and marketing/multimedia consultant for over twenty years. He has produced documentaries and television productions both nationally and internationally. Aside from his own blog which observes politics and modern culture, he has been published in the Miami Herald, ABCNews.com and various other publications. His company Ag Media Solutions, Inc. (www.agmediasolutions.com) represents several boutique firms and religious organizations as their outsourced marketing department. In addition, his apparel line, Mondo Monster Wear (www.mondomonsterwear.com), features designs that parody sports and pop culture. He enjoys wine, cooking, golf, vintage movies and researching history and politics. In addition, he shares his love of the Mets, NY Giants, NY Rangers and music (The Beatles, RUSH and 80s Heavy Metal) with his two children. He lives on Long Island and can be found most summer weekend days on the beach or boat with his girlfriend and their blended families. Rookie lefthander, Steven Matz is donating to Angela’s House with every strikeout he throws. Purchases of this shirt will also result in donations to this vital charity. Click here: http://www.mondomonsterwear.com/products/mets-aces

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