Wahlberg offers advice on avoiding unfortunate incident

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

It’s the kind of call every journalist dreads.

David Wahlberg, of the Wisconsin State Journal, writes that a call from the medical examiner to his editor on July 22 started the worst day of his 22-year journalism career.

David Wahlberg

David Wahlberg

A patient featured in his front-page story about a new treatment for brain aneurysms, who was quoted as saying she felt “fantastic” after having the procedure, had died six days before the article was published. She died from a hemorrhage in a different part of her brain from where her aneurysm had been and other factors may have contributed to the bleeding. But when Wahlberg wrote the story, the patient was at home, doing well, with no warning signs.

In a forthright article for AHCJ, Wahlberg explains how this unfortunate episode happened, explores ways it could have been avoided and shares lessons for both journalists and health care providers. Read more …

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