It took Farrah Fawcett’s battle with cancer being splattered all over the media to find out that hospital employees in Los Angeles have been selling celeb medical records. It gets worse. It seems that a number of hospitals have “medical professionals” working both sides: working their day jobs as “medical professionals,” and by night, being on tabloid payrolls.
In my world, that’s called being a snitch and it’ll get you a lot more than a day in jail plus a fine. Let’s just say these people ought to be glad I’m not Farrah’s best friend. I’m talking a blanket party, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s because you’re not from the Midwest.
This just infuriates me beyond belief. As bad as illnesses like cancer and mental illness are, they can be worse: you could be a celebrity and have your most private stuff sold to the highest bidder.
At least the feds are continuing the investigation, and I do hope a lot of people end up in prison over this. There’s no excuse for these greedy bastards.
From the NY Daily News:
Rush & Molloy: Pipeline to Fawcett info leak
Feds probing the alleged sale of cancer-stricken Farrah Fawcett’s medical records to The National Enquirer could find a long mole tunnel between the hospitals and the tabloids.
Former UCLA Medical Center staffer Lawanda Jackson was indicted on April 9 after allegedly leaking private info about Fawcett, Maria Shriver and 60 other patients. Now vets at the ‘bloids are wondering how long it will be before other health professionals and reporters are drawn into the investigation.
Staffers at L.A. hospitals favored by celebs have been on the payroll of the supermarket weeklies for years, based on transcripts we’ve obtained of taped conversations among dirt-diggers at Globe magazine.
The recordings, made by former Globe managing editor Jim Mitteager, capture him talking with his reporters and sources about stars who allegedly have undergone cosmetic surgery and abortions, as well as been treated for mental illness, bulimia and AIDS.
Among the celebs mentioned in the conversations are Tom Cruise (above), Jessica Lange, Liz Taylor, Billy Crystal, Kelsey Grammer, Magic Johnson, Roseanne Barr (below), Al Pacino (below), Paula Abdul (r.), Frank Zappa and Vanna White.
Recorded between 1992 and 1993, the tapes suggest the impunity with which hospital workers trafficked in sensitive information.
One reporter is heard telling Mitteager that, “If Liz (Taylor) is in St. John’s Hospital,” his source there will know it. “She takes a special delight on getting s? on Liz,” says the reporter. “She has access to the computer and talks to orderlies.”
On another tape, Mitteager contends that a now-deceased TV actor “has got AIDS. The people who want to sell the story have physical proof. They want $4,000. ? They want to move fast because it’s Christmastime and they want to get paid.”
Equally impatient is the husband of a nurse, who asks if he can get “some good-faith money” for his tip. Mitteager says he’ll pay only “if we run the story.”
Mitteager bequeathed the tapes to private investigator Paul Barresi, who has offered to cooperate with prosecutors and hospital officials.
“I remember the gleeful reaction from a Globe senior editor to the news that Dinah Shore had been diagnosed with cancer,” Barresi tells us. “It made my skin crawl. Nothing has changed inside the tabs.”
A spokesman for American Media Inc., which bought The Globe in 2000, said the legality of the dealings before then “are not our responsibility.” The rep declined to comment on the current Enquirer case.
A lawyer for several celebs mentioned on the recordings told us he would ask his clients if they want to pursue legal action. “The question is whether you can sue on something that happened 15 years ago,” the attorney added. “Also, how reliable is the information the reporters are talking about.”
Publicist Stan Rosenfield, whose clients include Grammer, Robert De Niro and George Clooney, said: “It’s alarming that this criminal activity could go on so long without being detected.”