The Washington Times - May 23, 2012, 09:41PM

How sensitive medical information was compromised remains an open question regarding the vial for sale that once reputedly held President Reagan’s blood. According to the story accompanying the artifact for sale through PFC Auctions, a worker in the lab that processed the Gipper’s blood sample in 1981 asked to keep the vial. Having been granted permission, the story goes, her family held onto it as an heirloom until her son sold it.

George Washington University Hospital (GW), where Reagan was treated after John W. Hinckley, Jr’s 1981 assassination attempt, initially said it was conducting an investigation into how this breach of medical privacy occurred. The results of its inquiry appeared to rest with GW’s conclusion that its liability expired with its change of ownership in 1997.

“They’re just stonewalling now,” an official connected to the case told The Washington Times. “They’re saying they aren’t responsible for anything that happened before the change of ownership.”

Regardless of liability, it is surely in the hospital’s interests to allay public fear over the possibility of sensitive medical information being at risk of being stolen by shameless opportunists. “If you value your reputation as a healthcare facilty, you want to make sure any patient can receive care with the assurance that their privacy won’t be invaded and body parts sold or stolen,” the official said.

The sale is generating heated reactions among Reagan-lovers. As Reagan biographer Craig Shirley told The Washington Times, “There are some things beyond human decency and this is beyond human decency. The trafficker of President Reagan’s blood vial must have known this in their heart because they chose a British auction house over an American to go beyond the reach of U.S. justice.”

GW did not immediately respond to request for comment after business hours.