It’s Not the EKG; It’s the Cover-Up: Day Five

06/29/2005 01:34 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

So now Cheney’s press secretary has denied on the record that the vice president had an EKG while in Vail, leaving more unanswered questions (or as Lloyd Grove put it: “Why do I feel like someone is pulling my leg?”). This morning, a source close to the hospital told me that, in fact, the vice president was administered “a 12 lead EKG” by a nurse in the cardiac unit. “The hospital has put a clamp on all discussions of the Cheney visit,” my source told me. “Each department was asked to gather its employees and give them a short HIPAA Privacy Rule lesson. People were told that anyone who is treating a patient and discloses information could be fined up to $50,000 and 5 years in jail. And if it’s malicious, it can be $100,000 and 10 years in jail.” A nurse speaking to our source said, her voice shaking: ‘I can’t talk to you about this... I’ll be fired.’ Hospital employees have been forbidden to discuss this “hot issue” -- even among themselves.

So the cover-up continues, spreading fear in Vail and deception in Washington.