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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

William Heisel, former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, writes about investigative health reporting. He is currently the director of global engagement at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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We seem to be gripped by a national state of shock at the news that Nadya Suleman, a single mother with no job and six children, was able to have eight embryos implanted in her uterus, all of which resulted in children.

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Health care reporters know how rarely hospitals suspend a doctor's privileges. Those rights are granted and revoked by other doctors, and doctors are loathe to set a precedent by saying a botched surgery or missed diagnosis should bar a doctor for life.



That's why it was a big deal when the Reston Hospital Center in Virginia took away Dr. Bahram Tafreshi Moshiri's right to practice there in November 2001.

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One would think that everything that could possibly be said about lead poisoning has been printed, broadcast and e-mailed around the globe countless times.

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Sometimes, all a doctor with a checkered past wants is some peace and quiet.

Dr. Paul William Anderson had a little trouble with a medical malpractice lawsuit in Nebraska. The Medical Board of Nebraska wanted the radiologist to explain why he had failed to diagnose a tumor that ended up blinding one of his patients.

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Update: Dr. Gupta removed himself from the list of candidates on March 5, telling CNN's Larry King, "I think for me it really came down to a sense of timing more than anything else. This job...takes us away from our children for so many years at once, and I sort of came to grips that I'd probably be away for several years of their lives."

Dr. Sanjay Gupta appears to be the first surgeon general picked not for his public service but for his public image.

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How access to death certificates helped one reporter get crucial medical details right in covering the potentially preventable death of a hiker.

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