Maybe the Giants officials who couldn’t gain access to Jason Pierre-Paul’s hospital room should have just asked ESPN for updates. Well-connected NFL reporter Adam Schefter tweeted yesterday that he’d obtained medical charts for Pierre-Paul, who injured himself in a fireworks accident last weekend, and reported that the defensive end had his right index finger amputated.
The tweet sparked two separate conversations. One concerned Pierre-Paul’s future, and ESPN’s subsequent reporting didn’t make his long-term situation sound all that dire. Pierre-Paul, according to an ESPN report, is expected to play next season, and one source said he’d return “sooner than people think.” Via ESPN’s Ed Werder, Pierre-Paul also suffered fractures to his thumb, and he reports that those could actually take longer to heal. (The broken thumb could take six weeks to heal, according to the report, compared to half that time for the amputation site to heal.)
The other conversation centered around Schefter’s reporting, and the ethics of a journalist obtaining and publishing an athlete’s medical records. “HIPAA,” an abbreviation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects medical records, began trending on Twitter, though ESPN said in a statement that “HIPAA does not apply to news organizations.” (It’s unclear how Schefter obtained them.)
CNN’s Brian Stelter reports that while Schefter himself didn’t violate HIPAA, if a health-care worker leaked that information to him, that person “almost certainly violated the law.”