Wife Of Slain Iowa Coach Testifies Against Federal Privacy Laws

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

The wife of slain Aplington-Parkersburg High School football coach Ed Thomas told a U.S. House subcommittee Friday that his death might have been prevented if a Waterloo, Iowa hospital had notified police a man being evaluated for mental health problems had been released.

Jan Thomas spoke before the subcommittee, which is examining whether federal privacy rules interfere with the flow of health information among patients, families and health care providers.

Thomas noted that Mark Becker, the man convicted of killing her husband, was released from the hospital less than 24 hours before the coach's 2009 death. Hospital officials said they couldn't notify police or Becker's parents because of a federal privacy law.

Thomas said information should sometimes be released, asking, "Is the privacy of one individual more sacred than a life?"

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