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Hospital chaplain/blogger critiques Gupta "Cheating Death" book

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It’s only a coincidence that my last blog was about Stephen Colbert’s “Cheating Death” segment and today’s is about Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s “Cheating Death” book.

Marshall Scott, man of the cloth, publisher of the Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside blog, critiques Gupta’s book.

His critique is especially relevant given the media ethics situation unfolding where Gupta reported on his own involvement in health care in Haiti. (This has now become a real trend, with CBS’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton and ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser reporting on their own involvement in health care episodes in Haiti. I’ll address this more fully in a future post.)

Reverend Scott writes:

“…that Dr. Gupta the reporter has overcome Dr. Gupta the physician in his effort to tell the story. …

This is an interesting and readable book. Unfortunately, for all the qualifications of Dr. Gupta the doctor, this book from Dr. Gupta the reporter shows all the shortcomings of health journalism. It brings out possibilities well before they’re going to be generally accepted, much less available. It highlights the successes without making clear the limitations, and especially the limitations in how many patients might actually be appropriate recipients of the therapies. Finally, while it uses research to support the story, it does so poorly, relying primarily on anecdotal reports and using published research imprecisely. Yeah, it’s an interesting read. Unfortunately, it might just create more problems than it solves.”

Read Rev. Scott’s entire blog entry. As a hospital chaplain, he’s a smart observer of health care and of health care journalism.

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