Poignant story leaves out the evidence

A heartwarming story on CBS News about a child’s medical treatment was in fact “incomplete and imbalanced,” according to Gary Schwitzer, on his HealthNewsReview blog.

Schwitzer, as regular Covering Health readers know, is an associate professor in the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication and publisher of HealthNewsReview.org.

Among the holes he sees in the story, reported by Sanjay Gupta:

  • No mention of the costs of treatment
  • How the child’s placement on a transplant list was affected
  • Why the device used is not FDA-approved
  • A lack of evidence that the device and treatment saved her life

Be sure to read what Schwitzer did find out about the medical device that was used. As he says, “Stories about new medical technologies – even those with such an emotional personal anecdote – should deal with evidence, not hyperbole about one anecdote.”

1 thought on “Poignant story leaves out the evidence

  1. Avatar photoWellescent Health Blog

    Far too often, especially in health issues, technologies are trumpeted as the solution to our ills when in reality, technologies are almost always an incremental improvement over what has come before. The sad reality is that it is very easy to use technology to woo the public in the same way that get-rich schemes and brand new diets can quickly gain attention.

    This is not the first story of this nature nor the last because some writing efforts will always have a goal of attracting reader attention even if the details are “not quite” complete.

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