Steve Luxenberg writes in the Detroit Free Press about the over-the-top protections afforded to the dead in his article “Dead and gone and still private: Medical record laws need updating.” Suffice it to say that medical, and especially mental health records are locked up far longer than is necessary. As far as I am concerned, people whose entire immediate family are dead should have any of their data made public. The only reason for privacy is the protection of living persons; the rest is history, and history should be made public, not hidden.
As Mr. Luxenberg points out, we have a radical lack of privacy in some arenas — witness Facebook — but medical and mental health records are another story. So, with a couple of clicks, I can find out what your street address and phone number are, but it takes a court order to find out about a person who died in a mental hospital more than 100 years ago.
I’m going to take a look at Luxenberg’s book Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret.