Lawmakers Push to Open Medical Records of Lou Gehrig

Mayo Clinic resists on privacy grounds
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2012 5:42 PM CDT
New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig takes practice swings before the start of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs in New York.   (AP Photo,File)

(Newser) – Should Lou Gehrig's medical records be unsealed? Some lawmakers in Minnesota think so, and they hope to force the Mayo Clinic to do just that, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The state legislator leading the charge says it could resolve an intriguing theory raised in a 2010 study—that Gehrig didn't have Lou Gehrig's disease and instead suffered from repetitive brain trauma brought on by concussions in his playing days.

One problem is that Gehrig has no living relatives, and the Mayo Clinic insists the records should remain private as a result, reports AP. Another is that Gehrig was cremated, so the records may not yield any new insights, as opposed to an autopsy. Two dueling quotes:

  • "Mayo Clinic values the privacy of our patients," says a spokesman. "Patient medical records should remain private even after the patient is deceased."
  • "My cynical take on it is that the Mayo Clinic is just embarrassed to have misdiagnosed something that's been known for 70 years as Lou Gehrig's disease," says legislator Phyllis Kahn.

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