Hammons’ health situation a matter of public concern

Geoff Pickle, Web Editor

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s inquiry concerning the condition of John Q. Hammons and his businesses has quickly become a hot ticket news item.

Kinder visited Springfield on the first of the month to detail his inquiry and also as a fact-finding mission.

Kinder was acting as the state’s official senior advocate, a role that comes with his duties as lieutenant governor.

A statement sent Nov. 1 by Justin Harris, JQH Hotels & Resorts senior vice president and general counsel, read that the company would not comment publicly on the details of Hammons’ health conditions, “other than to state that Mr. Hammons’ medical care is directed by a team of experts from the world renowned Cleveland Clinic in cooperation with his personal physician.”

Though the company is keeping a fairly tight seal on the situation, Kinder was able to find that Hammons was under the control of two physicians – Dr. Steven Atwood of CoxHealth in Springfield, and Dr. Brian Griffin, a cardiologist with the Cleveland Clinic.

Kinder’s inquiry found that Hammons’ health situation isn’t looking good, as the 91-year-old hotelier and businessman suffers from multiple cardiovascular, lung and pulmonary disorders.

One cannot help but to feel a bit disheartened to hear this news.

Hammons is one of the premiere contributors to the city of Springfield – you would be hard put to find anyone that doubts his commitment and impact. He also has taken his business ventures outside of Springfield and has made quite the lasting legacy for himself.

While the company response hasn’t been completely tight-lipped, it hasn’t exactly been forthright.

The statement Harris sent states Hammons has expressed his wishes that the company not comment on his health situation.

It is completely within the rights of the company to stay quiet on the subject for now, though it would have been appropriate to disclose Hammons’ succession plan involving new company CEO Jacquie Dowdy.

However, Kinder’s inquiry and subsequent news reports are acting accordingly in their efforts to uncover details concerning the case.

By virtue of his widespread work, Hammons is a public figure and, thus, should give up certain bits of privacy to the caring general public, particularly when a story as big as this is unfolding.

It may be invasive for a normal person’s standards, but it is understandable and necessary to push out news regarding people such as the illustrious Mr. Hammons.

Kinder and various reporters have a responsibility to the public to provide information on highly regarded and well-known people.

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