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Favorite Health Journalism of 2010, Part 2

Favorite Health Journalism of 2010, Part 2

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

As 2011 unfolds, I'd like to share some of my favorite health journalism – some but not all of it policy-related – from 2010. This is definitely not a best-of list, but rather journalism that can inspire and teach us.  Here are my first five picks, and below are my second five, in no particular order of importance. Do you have other recommendations for must-read health journalism from last year? Share it in the comments below.

6. First, Do No Harm: An Examination of Medical Education and Medical Care at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas Morning News, 2010

The Dallas Morning News' investigation of two prestigious area hospitals, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital, is a great example of hammering away at a story day after day, month after month. Reporters Reese Dunklin and Sue Goetinck Ambrose examined in chilling detail how lax supervision of medical residents and other problems at Parkland Hospital compromised patient care, in one case leading to an unnecessary amputation for one woman. After you peruse the stories and multimedia offerings in the package, head over to for Dallas Morning News Deputy Managing Editor Maud Beelman's insider account of the considerable community blowback from the newspaper's reporting.  

7. How Much Should Medicare Pay Doctors? Planet Money, NPR, Feb. 26, 2010

I love NPR's Planet Money's irreverence and accessibility and wish they would cover more health business and economic stories. Here, reporters David Kestenbaum and Chana Joffe-Walt trace the history of how Medicare has struggled for decades to fairly pay doctors and how that history affects today's payment battles. It's great context for the next time the Medicare "doc fix" comes before Congress.

8. Napa State Hospital's Grisly Inside Story, Bay Citizen, Dec. 16, 2010

Bay Citizen senior writer Katharine Mieszkowski went beyond the horror story of a mentally ill patient killing a staffer at Napa State Hospital in Northern California to detail the factors that have made the psychiatric hospital an increasingly dangerous workplace.

9. How Insurers Reject You: BlueCross/BlueShield of Texas' blueprint for denying health policies, Slate, Feb. 10, 2010

Timothy Noah's comprehensive analysis of the ways in which insurers to deny people seeking individual health policies has all the elements of a great outrage story: a confidential document, jaw-dropping details (highly fit professional athletes are automatically denied – seriously?), and a universally relatable subject.

10. One in a Billion: A boy's life, a medical mystery, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Dec. 2010

Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher's three-day series on efforts to treat one boy's baffling illness is filled with emotion but laudably doesn't shy away from detailed descriptions of the genomic medicine that could treat his disease.  The series got a shout-out from the Knight Science Journalism Tracker's Charlie Petit, who wrote: "Reporters Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher serve up an exemplary instance  of a health reporting tradition: to find an arresting and dramatic instance of disease and follow one patient's experiences for a good long time."

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Favorite Health Journalism of 2010, Part 1

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