Bare feet Required…

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By:  Progress for Westhampton Beach

Many will see the front page of the Southampton Press and be captured by the headline “Deadly Day at Beach.”  The story reports the tragic death of Jordan Boris at Rogers Beach.  Also reported on 27east; and here – Serious Business.  Consumers of the news and local gossip should keep in mind that the flow of information is restricted by law and for good reason.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA, was enacted by the United States Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.  A similar law, County Law § 677, applies to autopsy reports in the State of New York.  These laws prohibit the disclosure of information.

The purpose of the HIPAA law is to help keep private health concerns private.  It is an important public policy that encourages people to be completely honest with their medical providers so they can receive appropriate care and treatment.  A similar privacy policy prevails with respect to autopsies.  The privacy accorded autopsy reports encourages friends and family to be candid about the deceased which allows a Medical Examiner to make a more informed assessment of the cause, mechanism and manner of death.1)Cause, Mechanism, and Manner of Death:  The Cause of Death is the disease or injury responsible for initiating the lethal sequence of events. A competent cause of death is etiologically specific.  The mechanism of death is the altered physiology and biochemistry whereby the cause exerts its lethal effect.  Mechanisms of Death lack etiologic specificity and are unacceptable as substitutes for causes of death. Common mechanisms of death include congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, asphyxia, sepsis, exsanguination, renal failure, and hepatic failure. The term “cardio-respiratory arrest” is meaningless for purposes of death certification; it is a description of being dead, not a cause of death.  The Manner of Death explains how the cause arose: natural, accident, homicide, or suicide. Natural deaths are defined as those that are caused exclusively by disease; accidental deaths result from an environmental tragedy (e.g. struck by lightning). from Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s webpage  Both laws enhance the flow of information to those people who need it most.

The disclosure restrictions of HIPAA and County Law § 677 are important, but they do result in a limitation of the relevant information that is disclosed to the public.  This occurs when the public’s interest is limited to a generalized curiosity,  and not a matter of direct concern.

These privacy protections may be waived if a person (or the representative of their Estate) brings a law suit, then all the facts are a direct concern to the public, the public hunt for the truth ensues, and the shoes go on.  What’s this about shoes and bare feet?  See No Shoes Today.

It appears that Mr. Boris’ family is confident that Jordan Boris was given every chance to survive,2)this link added to story 8-11-15but sadly he did not:

Jordan Boris
posted on 27east.com

On a related note:

The comments that have been made on 27east about the physical limitations of the Westhampton Ambulance volunteer who responded to the scene were at best rude.  He showed up.  He knew he could make a contribution to our community and he volunteered. And on a beautiful Saturday in August, he put summer leisure and personal comforts aside and he showed up.

Many of us are well past our prime.  Still, each of us has something we can do regardless of our personal limitations.  If you feel you can make a contribution to our community consider volunteering. 

There was a lot of good work done at our beach on Saturday, August 1st.  Our village employees and our volunteers at the Westhampton Ambulance deserve thanks.

By:  Progress for Westhampton Beach

References   [ + ]

1. Cause, Mechanism, and Manner of Death:  The Cause of Death is the disease or injury responsible for initiating the lethal sequence of events. A competent cause of death is etiologically specific.  The mechanism of death is the altered physiology and biochemistry whereby the cause exerts its lethal effect.  Mechanisms of Death lack etiologic specificity and are unacceptable as substitutes for causes of death. Common mechanisms of death include congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, asphyxia, sepsis, exsanguination, renal failure, and hepatic failure. The term “cardio-respiratory arrest” is meaningless for purposes of death certification; it is a description of being dead, not a cause of death.  The Manner of Death explains how the cause arose: natural, accident, homicide, or suicide. Natural deaths are defined as those that are caused exclusively by disease; accidental deaths result from an environmental tragedy (e.g. struck by lightning). from Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s webpage
2. this link added to story 8-11-15

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