Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Did A-Rod's lawyer prove his case on that MRI? Read on!

One of the underreported stories regarding Alex Rodriguez these days is that his tough-talking attorney may have indeed backed up at least one of his incendiary charges. Joseph Tacopina showed evidence to reporters Monday that could confirm what he claimed about the Yankees knowing in October 2012 that an MRI showed that A-Rod had damage on his left hip. This is what Tacopina told the New York Times on Saturday:
 During the 2012 playoffs, Tacopina said, the Yankees hid from Rodriguez that a magnetic resonance imaging test had revealed that he had a torn labrum — essentially a hole in his hip — and continued to play him, even though he was struggling mightily.
“They rolled him out there like an invalid and made him look like he was finished as a ballplayer,” Tacopina said.
Yesterday, Tacopina fulfilled Randy Levine's challenge to "put up or shut up" on this issue by revealing an MRI report from October 11, 2012, which showed that A-Rod did indeed have a tear in the labrum of his left hip. If you may remember, October 10 was the night Alex was pinch-hit for with Raul Ibanez in the ALDS. After the game, Rodriguez, who had previously said he was fine, admitted to Joe Girardi that he felt something in his right hip. He underwent an MRI the next day, after which the Yanks insisted that everything was fine with him. But it wasn't.

Here's what the radiologist's report said, according to a report Tacopina shared with ESPN, Joel Sherman and other members of the media (emphasis added below):
"Stable postoperative appearance of the right hip with no evidence of labral re-tear, stable degenerative change, and only minimal gluteus medius insertional tendinosis. Partial evaluation of left hip revealing superior labral tear with small parabal cyst."
The record backs up what Tacopina said about the MRI revealing damage to the left hip. And LoHud.com says this about the report:
The Yankees have previously acknowledged the MRI taking place, but they’ve said it focused only on the right hip, which is the only hip Rodriguez mentioned having any sort of problem.

“The MRI that was taken was for his right hip,” Cashman said. “Does the left hip show up in the MRI? I couldn’t tell you if it does or it doesn’t. The right hip was the complaint (on the night of) the pinch hitting, and that’s what they evaluated was how his hip was and his complaint on that right hip. He was cleared from that, and that was it; cleared to continue to play.”
A-Rod did not discover that his left hip's labrum was torn until Dr. Mark Philippon examined him in the offseason. He reportedly only heard about the previous results on that hip from the MRI when Philippon got notes from his medical file revealing that. And now he is reportedly considering filing a grievance with MLB, and is considering a malpractice suit against Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the Yankee team doctor.

When Cashman addressed the media on Sunday, he never specifically mentioned the MRI issue, but he had this to say, among other things, regarding Tacopina's medical claims, and the state of A-Rod's hips last October:
“The medical records are factual,” Cashman said. “If they have a dispute with the medical records, you know, we are very comfortable with the business we’ve gone about. No one has hid anything from the guy. The stuff that was alleged yesterday is just false.”....
“He meets with Joe [Girardi] separately and says, ‘Listen, don’t give up on me, put me back in there.’ He’s fighting to stay in,” Cashman said. “Fighting to stay in. But I see Alex’s comments saying ‘I never should have been out there,’ which contradicts his own comments. I see his attorney talking about we’re running him out there like an invalid? I guess he’s also lumping Alex in that, because, again, I don’t get it; he was fighting to play."
The Yankees also issued the following statement yesterday:
“We relied upon Dr. Christopher Ahmad and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital for medical diagnosis, opinions and treatment,” the statement read. “The Yankees neither had any complaints from Alex Rodriguez pertaining to his left hip during the 2012 regular season and the Yankees postseason, nor did the Yankees receive any diagnosis pertaining to his left hip during that same period of time. Given the various allegations that have been made by Alex Rodriguez and his counsel, if you have any medical questions they should be directed to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Dr. Christopher Ahmad.”
* * *

Now, I am not a doctor, nor a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. However, I do know this from personal experience that many times, medical tests like MRIs and sonograms find out things that were not what the tests were originally for. I believe the term for that is incidental findings.

Such a situation happened with me once -- a few years ago, I had an MRI for one medical complaint, and it was discovered I had a tumor elsewhere, in a different body part where I had felt no pain. Fortunately the tumor was benign, and was easily removed with laproscopic surgery. If I hadn't gotten that MRI, though, I may not have known about the tumor right away, and it could have caused real problems for me. Gee, I'm glad my doctor didn't ignore the issue, figuring that since I didn't complain about that body part, it wasn't worth investigating!

The reason I bring this up is to point out the Yankees' rather head-scratching point of view on this is. Just because A-Rod didn't complain about his left hip, and wanted to keep playing, does not mean that a tear and cyst on his left labrum should have been ignored. So why was it? Why did they not put A-Rod on the DL, instead of insisting that he was healthy?

Why, after the MRI caught this issue in a partial evaluation, was Rodriguez not given another MRI with a full evaluation in the left hip? Why did the Yankees insist then that A-Rod was fine, when his MRI showed that he wasn't? Who dropped the ball here, exactly?

Why did a Yankee official say to Wallace Matthews last month,  "He blames Dr. Ahmad for missing his hip injury? He missed his own hip injury?" Why did Cashman say on Sunday that the medical records were "factual," and Tacopina's complaints were "false," and the very next day, when A-Rod's lawyer reveals that the MRI showed October 11 that there was a torn labrum in the left hip, that Cashman say that he "couldn’t tell you" if the labrum "does or it doesn’t" show up in the MRI? Why didn't Cashman look at his own team's MRI report?

Why does Cashman continue to fixate on the fact that A-Rod complained about the right hip, not the left? And why is the team claiming not to know about a medical report that their own team doctor commissioned and would have reviewed? Is this situation why Rodriguez wanted a second opinion on his quad strain diagnosis?

Somebody in the New York media ought to do some more digging on this issue to find out the full story, instead of simply buying the Yankees' spin. But that would involve real reporting, and not simply writing up leaks from the Yankee brass, so I doubt it will happen!

1 comment:

Trooper Joe said...

I'm really rooting for Alex on this. Good piece!

Search This Blog