Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shadchan as Medical Practitioner

I was attempting to red a shidduch for a particular young man, attempting being the operative word. In three weeks I still had not gone beyond the questions to be answered stage with his parents. At the rate things were going the young lady I had in mind would be a great-grandmother before the two would meet. Then came an email from the boy's parents.

They "only" wanted to know the following and then I could red the shidduch to the girl. Questions they absolutely needed answered: Was the girl healthy? Does the girl wear glasses? Why? Has she ever had orthodontia? Has she ever been hospitalized? Why? Is there a history of any illness in her family? What kind and who had it? What did the grandparents die of if deceased? There were more but you get the picture.

I was reminded of this shidduch because I received a "resume" from a young lady in the mail yesterday in which she also put down that good health is important to her and she too needed all the family health information.

Here's the thing: I am not a doctor. I don't give a physical to possible shidduch people. Frankly, I don't want to know--TMI. Luckily the government has gotten me out of having to answer these questions any more. The HIPPA Act precludes anyone from getting your medical information without your express written permission. I just tell people now that I am not authorized under HIPPA to get this information. I can just see it now. Attached to the usual questionnaire will be a HIPPA authorization form. What's next? Full bank audits to confirm financial standing?

Whatever happened to just telling the shadchan that all you want is a mentsch?


Anonymous said...

Who wants a dead mentch?
I can understand wanting to know if there's diabetes or heart attack likely to happen, but orthodontia? The parents afraid they'll be asked to dish out money for juniors' teeth?

ProfK said...

Re the orthodontia, apparently that is the worry. Re the diabetes and heart attacks, I spoke with an MD--frum--who had this to say (paraphrased to save some space). Most genetically induced diseases, such as diabetes, may indeed run in families. The problem with a lot of the other types of illnesses, including heart disease, is that having grandparents who were in the concentration camps or work camps can skew your medical history. They were under extreme physical deprivations which caused many health issues as they were aging. They also had children almost immediately after they came back from the camps and these children did not have fully healthy parents, so some of their health problems still stem directly from their parents but may not be genetic in the sense used today. Medicine was very primitive pre-World War II and your grandparents most likely have no idea of what their parents died from or what diseases were present in the family.

Thus, having a grandparent who died of a heart attack and a father with heart problems may or may not indicate heart disease in a particular family.