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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Daniel Ruth column: C.W. Bill Young's health was a public concern



Tampa Bay Times columnist Daniel Ruth writes a column on late Rep. C.W. Bill Young and new information that he had cancer for five years before he died. An excerpt:

It would seem Young followed the example established by corporate America. Securities and Exchange Commission rules about top executives revealing critical health issues are murky at best. The SEC only requires the release of information that is "material," which allows a broad interpretation. That may explain why Apple's Steve Jobs didn't think it was "material" enough to his shareholders to divulge he was in the late stages of pancreatic cancer.

Mrs. Young said in an interview Monday that her husband considered revealing his cancer. She said he decided against it after his doctors assured him he had responded well to treatment and that his ability to do the job would not be affected. Fair enough. But didn't his constituents have a right to the same information?

"Why?" Mrs. Young asked, noting that her husband was under no responsibility to disclose if he had a hernia, for example. Then she added this about her husband's cancer diagnosis: "There's no cure for it. They can treat it. He took medication."

However - and this is the delicate part, so soon after Young's death - the multiple myeloma did impact Young's ability to serve. After all, he died less than halfway into what he announced days before his death would be his last term. As Alex Leary reported, the cancer complicated Young's broken hip, which had landed him in the hospital and caused excruciating pain. Because of the cancer, Young's brittle bones could not support a medical pin. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 11:07am]


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