Tags : medical

IRE Radio Podcast | Hazardous Health Care

It's not easy prying information out of hospitals and health departments. On our podcast this week we’ll hear from journalists who successfully negotiated for the data or documents they needed to fuel an investigation. Here’s the lineup:

  • Gary Dotson of the Belleville News-Democrat shares the paper’s 2012 story about the state’s failure to investigate after disabled adults living at home died from abuse or neglect.
  • Robin Fields of ProPublica explains how she successfully argued for data on dialysis facilities across the country.
  • Ellen Gabler of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses “Deadly Delays,” an investigation that ...
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Medical examiner databases shed light on North Carolina’s death investigation system

Tom Cooper died face down in a pool of blood on his kitchen floor. Virginia Gregg was found dead in her closet. And a co-worker discovered Fred Lookabill dead on the steps of his front porch.

North Carolina medical examiners ruled all three died from natural causes.

They were wrong.

Forget what you've seen on television dramas. North Carolina's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner investigates suspicious deaths much like it did 40 years ago.

Medical examiners don't rush to the scene. (They don't go at all 90 percent of the time.)

They don't wield ...

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How to use CDC data to report on gun deaths

Dan Keating of the Washington Post used the CDC Wonder database to explore the racial breakdowns of gun deaths. What he found challenges the idea of having a gun for protection — at least for some.

"A white person is five times as likely to commit suicide with a gun as to be shot with a gun; for each African American who uses a gun to commit suicide, five are killed by other people with guns."

Learn how to use the same CDC data to investigate causes of death in your area.

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Google Hangout Dec. 9th with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Deadly Delays Team

On Dec. 9th at 10:00 a.m. CST, IRE will host another live Google+ Hangout with Ellen Gabler and Allan J. Vestal of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Watchdog team.  Tune in as we learn about their Deadly Delays series on processing failures in newborn screening programs.  Topics for discussion will include how the team uncovered delayed testing and how other news teams can use the information to begin their own investigations.

After the broadcast, the recorded Hangout will be posted to ire.org.  Please visit our Hangouts page to view previous sessions on investigating America's worst charities ...

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Updated FDA Medical Device Reports (MAUDE) available in the data library

The NICAR Database Library has just updated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience Database(MAUDE).

WHAT’S IN IT?
Current with reports received by the FDA through June 28, 2013, the data include nearly 3 million records of problems involving medical devices. These problems include injuries, deaths and product malfunctions. 

The dataset has a unique MDR report number for each incident and contact detail for the manufacturers and distributors. The age and expiration date for devices are also available in some instances. A memo field includes narratives that describe how problems occurred ...

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Database helps show spread of foreign-trained docs

When I began covering health for The Bakersfield Californian, I frequently heard sources mention the high number of foreign-trained doctors serving the Central Valley.  So many of our county’s physicians, they said, had attended medical school overseas. Even within our newsroom, colleagues commented about their personal experience seeing international medical graduates for almost all of their medical care. We discussed how to cover a topic that seemed ripe for exploration – and especially relevant given the overall doctor shortage and recruiting challenges present in the valley – but too intangible to report in any substantial way.

Before we could do anything ...

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Using prescriptions data for stories

In the past few years, pharmaceutical companies have been required under federal law to publicly disclose their payments to physician consultants and speakers, opening up a whole new avenue for journalists, including the writers of the Connecticut Health I-Team.

Each time another pharmaceutical company begins posting its payment disclosure data online -- often in a hard-to-find link on its website -- I've taken a look through, to check on Connecticut doctors. As in most other states, hundreds of doctors here earn thousands of dollars to promote drugs marketed by pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Cephalon, Eli Lilly, Janssen.

In the spring, I ...

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M.E. files show prescription drug overdoses

The overdose death of a 15-year-old suburban girl was front-page news in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Maddie Kiefer had been dumped, dead or nearly dead, in the front yard of a friend’s home on a chilly Sunday morning.

The shock expressed by the community, including the more than 1,000 mourners at Kiefer’s funeral, made us want to know what led to her death. But we also had a larger question: Just how common was it for people to overdose and die not from heroin or cocaine, but from prescription drugs?

Two tiny pills, each a different prescription ...

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