Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Outside the Box

The currency of personal medical data

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 20 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b218
  1. Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary health care, University College London
  1. p.greenhalgh{at}

    During the US presidential election campaign John McCain made 1200 pages of his medical records from the Mayo Clinic available to journalists. He did this to prove that his recurrent skin cancers were under control and that despite two bayonet wounds and torture scars from five years as a prisoner of war he was psychologically unscathed, “considerably younger than his chronological age,” and fit to lead America. Barack Obama parried with a one page statement from his physician saying that he had no significant medical history, a blood pressure of 90/60 mm Hg, a pulse of …

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