Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I See Dead People

A history professor at Central Connecticut State University and one of his graduate students, a retired corporate lawyer, spent months persuading the state Freedom of Information Commission to release medical records from hospitalized Civil War soldiers and veterans.

[Thomas B. Scheffey, "A Legal Skirmish Over Civil War Records," Connecticut Law Tribune, 26 April 2010. Thanks to Josh Gerstein for the reference.]

The case is a reminder that ethics rules can interfere with the scholarly study of not only the living, but also the dead. For an excellent introduction to this issue, see Susan C. Lawrence, "Access Anxiety: HIPAA and Historical Research," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 62 (2007): 422-460.

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