Congressman: My family gets a lot of ‘obscure diseases’

Greg Nash

Rep. James McGovern says his family has earned a dubious title: as the rulers of “obscure diseases.”

“I do not come from a tradition of distinguished physicians or nurses or researchers or medical experts,” the Massachusetts Democrat said during his address Sunday at the University of Massachusetts Medical School commencement. Instead, McGovern declared, “I come from a long and storied line of patients.”

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The nine-term House member explained, saying, “If there is an obscure disease buried on page 437 of a diagnostics manual, the McGoverns have had it. Or, more accurately, we have convinced ourselves and tried to convince others that we have it.”

The 54-year-old McGovern, who was successfully treated for papillary thyroid cancer in 2010, seemed to be a good sport about the many ailments — real or imagined — that his family has faced.

Mimicking a trip to the doctor’s office, he quipped, “No, doctor, I have never been bitten by a zebra in Zimbabwe, but I did watch ‘Out of Africa’ once.”

The congressman told the medical school graduates, “So on behalf of my family — lotsa luck.”

 

 

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