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Covering a complex story for the long haul

Memorial Medical Center in New OrleansLast August, Sheri Fink's article, "The Deadly Choices at Memorial," a collaboration between ProPublica and The New York Times, described what happened at one isolated New Orleans hospital in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.

She found, after more than two years of research, that more medical professionals were involved in the decision to inject patients with drugs to hasten their deaths – and far more patients were injected – than had been previously understood. While those arrested said their goal had been to relieve pain, two physicians told her on the record that they intentionally hastened deaths, and they explained why. She used toxicology reports and autopsies, along with recollections and documentation from the days after Katrina to report the story.

The reporting and writing process for this 13,000-word article may offer insights for AHCJ members undertaking long-form, investigative reporting.

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