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Saturday, January 16, 2010
New Column on Carlos Beltran and his Dispute with the Mets over his Knee Surgery

I have a new column on Carlos Beltran and whether he needed permission for the Mets for knee surgery and what the Mets can do in response. Here's an excerpt:

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Interestingly, and understandably, the collective bargaining agreement does not expressly resolve how teams and players should reconcile differences in opinions over the appropriate course of a player's treatment and who should perform a particular surgery. Instead, the agreement essentially encourages players and teams to work out their differences in good faith and with an appreciation for reasonableness, taking into consideration the desires of both parties.

One recommendation, as provided in an attachment to the agreement, is that players and teams in disagreement turn to a third physician expert. The attachment also states, clearly, that teams should not force a player to have surgery performed by a team doctor, but should instead designate another physician to perform the surgery.

Given the contradictions in accounts between Beltran and the Mets, it is unclear whether either side satisfied their duties. Still, we know that the Mets have known from some time about Beltran's knee trouble and about his physician-patient relationship with Steadman. Beltran, in fact, was evaluated by Steadman last June. Also, following the completion of the 2009 season, Beltran had three MRIs on his right knee, with the third MRI, conducted on Dec. 10, revealing a worsening osteoarthritis in his knee. Presumably Beltran and the Mets, including the team's own doctors, have been in communication about how to treat the condition. It thus seems unlikely that the Mets were completely caught off-guard that Beltran would have knee surgery, or that the surgery would be performed by Steadman.

On the other hand, if the respective doctors for the Mets and Beltran disagreed as to Beltran's treatment, a third physician expert may have been appropriate. It would be notable if the Mets requested that Beltran see a third physician or if they designated another physician to perform the knee surgery, and if Beltran declined to meet with a third physician or the physician designated to perform the surgery.

Hope you get the chance to read the rest of the column.


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