Tag Archives: robotic surgery

Here’s how one journalist discovered the rush to robotic surgery was ahead of the evidence

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

What does it take to write an award-winning article? For Richard Mark Kirkner, the process involved finding the right idea, pursuing the reporting doggedly, and then putting it together in one compelling piece. This is the way reporting and writing go for most of us. But Kirkner had an edge with this particular story idea: He knew a bit about the subject, and he knew one of the best sources to tap as well.

Two years ago Kirkner read an article about robotic surgery that piqued his interest. As a result of his previous work, he knew a bit about the issues, and, better still, he knew many of the best sources to tap. Then he found an editor receptive to his pitch. Continue reading

Evidence-based reporting leads to award-winning exploration of robotic surgery

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Laura Beil

Robotic surgery has exploded in popularity in recent years, but is that because it actually improves patient outcomes over traditional surgery methods or because of marketing campaigns? That is one of the questions Laura Beil dove into in her award-winning story for Men’s Health, “What’s Wrong With Robotic Surgery?

In a story that involved months of reporting, Beil “used FDA and legal documents to explore concerns over the safety” of a prostate robotic surgery procedure and wove together her findings “into one concise narrative that engaged and informed Men’s Health readers.”

The reporting required FOI requests for adverse events from surgery (along with documents related to recent inspections and findings), legal documents from malpractice lawsuits and a class action suit against the manufacturer, and dozens of scientific studies to determine whether robotic surgery represented an advance in treatment.

Beil also describes the pushback after publication, adding that posting corporate responses online is a powerful way to expose unjustified pushback. Read about how she did her reporting.