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May 12th, 2009
10:13 AM ET

Farrah Fawcett fights back

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "Acress Farrah Fawcett speaks out against tabloids in an interview with the Los Angeles Times."]

Farrah Fawcett has fallen under the microscope as she seeks treatment for cancer. Headlines are all but announcing her death. Now Fawcett is speaking out.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she alleges the hospital where she sought cancer treatment pressured her to donate money. And worse, they sold her medical records to the National Enquirer. Explosive allegations that Fawcett says have taken a big toll on her health.

"I knew immediately that the information was coming from UCLA to the National Enquirer. So when my cancer came back, that's when I set it up with the doctor, I said, ‘Okay, you know and I know,' so I knew if it came out it was coming from UCLA."

The "Charlie's Angels" star says UCLA Medical Center initially did nothing to stop it. UCLA eventually did investigate the matter and found one of its employees had been looking at patients' records, but the hospital would not reveal the name to Fawcett's lawyers.

“She said, 'We have a responsibility to protect our employees.' And I said, 'More than your patients?'" says Fawcett.

The interview with the Los Angeles Times was recorded last August but held until now, timed to the release of her new documentary. In the interview Fawcett says cancer "becomes your life…it's all consuming... Then, your quality of life is never the same."

And Fawcett places blame squarely on the tabloids for making public a story she had hoped to keep private.

“It is like buying stolen goods. You know you are committing a crime."

UCLA Medical Center would not comment specifically about the case or whether Fawcett was even a patient. But it did release its policy on privacy, which states in part:

"In the wake of past patient privacy violations, the UCLA health system instituted an internal audit and has taken this opportunity to strengthen our internal systems. Our practice is one of zero tolerance..." Statement from Roxanne Yamaguchi Moster – Director, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations

In sickness and in health, Farrah Fawcett, the 1970’s icon remains America’s fascination.

"The beauty of Farrah Fawcett is in such stark contrast to what we are seeing now that I think it's that punctuation that has really riveted people," says Harvey Levin, executive producer, TMZ.

A spokesman for Fawcett's longtime companion Ryan O'Neil says the actress remains stable and continues to fight. Just as her documentary, her most challenging role, is set to debut.

"I am holding onto the hope that there is some reason I got cancer and that there is something that may not be very clear to me right now, but that I will do,” says Fawcett.

CNN reached out repeatedly to the National Enquirer and has not heard back.

A representative for the actress says her cancer is a line she would not allow to be crossed. He told us if the Enquirer writes that Fawcett is stopping treatment and dying she will hear from cancer patients who will say “If you're giving up hope, what hope is there for me?” And that, Fawcett's rep says, is the reason she is speaking out.

Filed under: Entertainment
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. hooploop55

    Ms fawcett please stop getting upset about who knows that you are sick with Cancer .You are a beloved woman and people wants to PRAY for you THATS THE CONCERN .Be like the Professor Randy who told the whole world, gave lectures, and just lived ,Ilove you very much GET WELL SOON ,God bless you.

    May 13, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  2. Delores Boone, R.N.

    UCLA worker, it may not be that Farrah or Ryan *saved* this information until now to mention, it may be that the hospital or their personal attorney requested this not mentioned until a full investigation was completed. And as we all know corporations/hospitals/government have a lot of red tape to wade through. Please, never assume.

    Jacqueline, thank you for your comment. There is a lot of misconception going round and most of it is because of party battles of the few who are more radical. Personally I would like to see two things happen in the US
    political system.

    1] Get rid of party descriptions and just run for office as a human being. Labels are no longer a good things.

    2] Bread down all bills into one subject. Want lower taxes for ??.
    Pass or fail. Want to take away a particular tax deduction for businesses? Pass or fail. Want to give a tax break for kids attending college: $5,000.00 deduction for full academic year if you earn under $60,000.00 per year. Pass or fail. This would speed things up by having nothing to bicker about or consider AND do away with Lobbyists because if there is pork in passed too many people will get voted OUT.

    D.C. does not need more politicians, it needs common sense.
    Are you reading this Mr. President? [wink] I really do think that is what the underlying goal is for this administration, but with the party battles it is an uphill battle. Both sides need to learn what common sense compromise is.

    May 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  3. Jacqueline Butler

    Thank you Dolores for your very informative comment about socialized health care. I am a registered Republican who voted against Obama but feel more and more support for him every day. There are too many people suffering .for more ways than can be counted. We have it within ourselves as individuals and as a country to make the world a better place.

    Farrah is doing just that !

    May 13, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  4. Chief Privacy & Information Officer (Healthcare)

    p.s. I Love You Farrah! Right Now...Shut EveryTHING & EveryONE OUT!!!...Close your eyes, go within & dwell within and know that there's Power Within YOU!'re biologically/spiritually wired with it. Just focus on that Power Within YOu!!! Think "PEACE" , IS FLOWING THROUGH MY BODY!; "I AM IN HARMONY WITH THE POWER WITHIN", "I AM FILLED WITH LOVE". "I LOVE YOU GOD (OR Great Spirit, or Creator...whatever name you're comfortable with)... That's all you need to focus on right now....let the lawyers deal with the rest!!! You focus on YOU....which includes the Power within you!!!!! We have an internal mechanism (The Power Within) which is also a healing mechanism. Farrah: I healed myself of Uterine Cancer years going within....and acknowledging my internal power...power to heal myself and others. Come on....close your eyes, go within, shut things out and focus on the Power Within.....This is what Jesus did...this is what he meant when he mentioned going to "the upper room", or "the mountain". It's the power within you....

    I love you Farrah!

    May 12, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  5. UCLA worker

    I work at UCLA and we're all aware (as was the public) that last year there was an issue with an employee revealing patient info. That employee is long gone.
    I find it strange that this wasn't brought to light last year and saved for the publicity push surrounding the release of Farah's documentary.
    UCLA is extremely diligent about patient privacy. Any access to every patient has to be justified and is constantly audited. If you peek where you're not supposed to, you will certainly be shown the door – without exception.
    This proves to me that for celebrities, there is truly no such thing as bad publicity.

    May 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  6. Susan Horowitz

    I just looked up at the article. I am so upset my grammer has deteriorated. I assume everyone got the idea. Harvey Levin from TMZ sounds like a heartless, superficial person. I also have health problems that have affected my looks. Big deal. I still love me. What an awful thing to say. He must have an unhappy life. OK-I think I am done now.

    Susan. from Athens, Ga

    May 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  7. Susan Horowitz

    To correct my first post. The leaker and tabloid should be under the jail. In case anyone was confused.

    Susan in Athens, Ga

    May 12, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  8. Susan Horowitz

    I have just read the other 9 comments. I will also think good thoughts for humanity. Not one of these comments mentioned love and support for a fellow human being. I am saddened.

    Susan in Athens, Ga

    May 12, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  9. Susan Horowitz

    I hope the person that leaked Farrah's medical records belongs in jail. The Enquirer should be out of business. Just because people have become successful and are famous, they are human beings and the laws are supposed to protect human beings against invasion of privacy. This is an outrage. And-to Farrah...I will think good thoughts for you. You are brave and strong. Never forget that.

    Susan in Athens, Ga with love

    May 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  10. Delores Boone, R.N.

    In 1983 I passed state boards in the 90 percentile nation-wide. So, I know from which I speak.

    1] UCLA Medical Center should have FIRED the employee, at least, no mater WHO they were. On top of that, with it comes to well known personalities, a hospital or medical center should institute greater precautions with patient confidentiality by way of only giving a core group of employees access to the patient and his/her chart. IE: Only staff with XX number of years, who have proven to be of high integrity access to the patient or chart. No one can tell me that hospitals can't keep personality charts/records handled by restricted personnel.

    2] The HIPPA law was written by politician who haven't a clue what health care involves. Although the intent was good, it was originally written to prevent careless (stupid?) physicians or care centers from just just tossing old records in the trash to prevent identity theft. But an none thinking zealot tightened it up so well that, if you actually go by the law, you would not be able to phone a hospital to see if your teen child had been admitted should they fail to come home on time, nor would doctors/nurses in ER's be able to phone the parents should the child be unable to give consent to do so. With that in mind I am glad there are health care personnel with common sense who recognize that the way the law was written is not always in the best interest of the family.

    3] Socialized, not socialist, medicine works very well in many countries. It all depends what KIND of program it is. All the word
    socilized medicine means is "available to all". The UK and Australia
    offer both socialized and private medical care. One can choose to use the socialized program or pay out of their pocket for any visit. It is a choice each person can make at anytime in their life. They do not need to choose one or the other, both are available. The deciding factor would be time frame or disagreement with a doctor and not wanting to wait for a second opinion, etc.

    4] As part of the Health Care field I have seen great co-workers leave the field, including doctors, because of the way health care deteriorated in this country. President Obama's plan has been the most workable plan to improve healthcare in the US I have read. And I have read them all, because they will affect me in two areas of my life: as a practioner and as a patient/parent/wife.

    5] We DO need watch dog groups, as Obama's plan mentions, to oversee insurance company cost and interference with their dictating doctors how to do their job. As far as I am concerned a doctor who works for the insurance company to help them cut cost could not make it in the real of healthcare (foreign doctors with less education or doctors who have too many complaints against them, for example) and this is an alternative way to "practice" medicine.

    So, unless people actually know the insides and outs of working in the healthcare field and have read and thoroughly understand what the wide range of socialized medicine really is please stop the politically motivated comments against it, because you are hiding your intelligence from readers.

    May 12, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  11. Charlee

    In other words, this was planned on her part to bring attention to her and her documentary. Shame on her! Shame on the employee that leaked the info to!

    May 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  12. Jackie in Dallas


    If you didn't notice in the story, Farrah is the one who delayed the interview surfacing, so that it would happen simultaneously with her new documentary. I'm just surprised that it didn't leak early!

    May 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  13. UCLA Copout

    Now UCLA wants to protect it's employee.....LOL...just another example of priorities being in the wrong place. This employee clearly violated this patients rights to privacy....I say give them the same medicine and publish their name.

    May 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  14. r

    Why is this interview from August just surfacing now?

    May 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  15. Crystallyn

    One of the Twitter comments said this CANCER PATIENT lost her right to privacy when she became a celeb. Are you kidding me? Really, I'm asking. So actors/artists should not expect UCLA, or any other hospital, to keep their medical records as private as mine and yours.
    I would rather see the medical records of my pilots, bus drivers, police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses than some aging actress. How about releasing the records of all the UCLA employees that have direct patient contact.. and that Twit...terer.

    May 12, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  16. mary

    has ucla not heard of the HIPPA law?????

    May 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  17. Jackie in Dallas

    Under the new HIPAA regulations that are supposed to protect patient privacy, it appears that UCLA is in serious violation. At the very least, the employee should be prosecuted. When I can't get a medical update on a friend by phone, but a shady employee can sell patient records to a rag like the National Observer, something is seriously wrong.

    Miket, please stop equating universal health care with socialism. If you feel that strongly about it, you won't have to participate. The universal health care proposals I have seen simply make basic health care affordable for those that cannot afford the private insurers (which is now approaching well over 60% of Americans). Our country ranks the lowest of all industrialized nation, and significantly lower than some so-called third world countries, on our health care. We have the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized country, we have the highest rates of obesity, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes, and worst of all, we have millions of people who cannot even afford a simple doctor's visit. Plus, we pay anywhere from 4 to 6 times the cost for exactly the same drugs from the same companies, and nearly 4 times what any other industrialized country charges for a bed in a hospital. And believe me, our international ratings do NOT give us the upper scores on overall care, either.

    May 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  18. Chris

    While the hospital should own up if the info came from them, they are not necessarily the one to blame. The greedy employee who sold this information is. Businesses can put alot of controls in place, and they will stop most people, but for those looking for a quick buck, they will try anything to make the "easy money" and if you ask them, it's probably because they think they "deserve it".

    May 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  19. miket

    and socialist health care will make things better,how?

    May 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  20. kellie

    Of course they sold her out. Shamefully the medical system here in the USA will plunder you for anything you have or are worth to them...until such times you lose your value to them, you run out of money or they have finished using you as a live experiment. Then they let you die.

    May 12, 2009 at 11:59 am |