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Read Original Story

Some appendicitis cases may not require ’emergency’ surgery

Rating

5 Star

Some appendicitis cases may not require ’emergency’ surgery

Our Review Summary

We really don’t understand why only a handful of mainstream news organizations reported this story. (At least in what we found.)

  • The most common emergency surgery in the world. 
  • Rushing to emergency surgery may not carry any benefit.
  • Waiting a few hours may be safer and less expensive.

Why is that not a story?

We applaud USA Today for finding time and space – and clearly it didn’t need to free up much space to do a good job telling the story.

 

Why This Matters

The story explains that as many as 300,000 appendectomies are done each year in the US.  That figure alone explains why this is an important study to report.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Although the story didn’t cite the cost of appendectomy – emergency or urgent surgery – and we wish it had, we nonetheless will give it a satisfactory score because it at least cited what the editorial writer wrote, "A secondary benefit is the savings to the hospital generated by minimizing staff and anesthesiologist presence late in the evening and during the wee hours of the morning."

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

As with our harms score above, although the story didn’t give absolute numbers, in this case we think it was sufficient for it to report that "The scientists found no significant difference among the groups in the patients’ condition 30 days after surgery or in the length of their operation or hospital stay."

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Although the story didn’t give absolute numbers, in this case we think it was sufficient for it to report that "The scientists found no significant difference among the groups in the patients’ condition 30 days after surgery or in the length of their operation or hospital stay."

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

Despite running less than 300 words, this story did an adequate job in explaining the quality of the evidence, including pointing out limitations.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

No disease-mongering here.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story meets the bare minimum requirement for this criterion in that it at least cited what an editorial stated.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The focus of the story was on a study comparing emergency appendectomy with surgery done up to 12 hours later or beyond.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

This is the whole focus of the story – and one we applaud – when it begins:  "Appendectomy is the most common emergency surgery in the world, but it doesn’t have to be."

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

There were no claims made about the novelty of this research, and we may have wished for a bit more context on this.  Nonetheless, the potential for guiding future care decisions was made clear.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  Given that the story only pulled excerpts from the journal article and the accompanying editorial, and didn’t include any fresh quotes from interviews, we can’t be sure of the extent to which it may have been influenced by a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 9 Satisfactory

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