Saturday, December 30, 2017

the rest of the news

News that made me wonder:
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey surgeon’s medical license has been temporarily suspended for allegedly reusing disposable anal catheters on multiple patients.
Attorney General Christopher Porrino says East Brunswick-based colon and rectal surgeon Sanjiv Patankar allegedly washed and reused the one-use catheters that are inserted into patients during medical procedures.
State officials say they have evidence that Patankar ordered only five catheters during time when he performed 82 procedures requiring them.
Why do I have the sense, as I increasingly do with 'news' stories, that the rest of this five-paragraph AP story has gone missing or overlooked or ignored? The doctor stands accused and yet there is no indication the doctor has been contacted and asked. What verifiable "danger" did this pose to patients?

Is it possible that the whole of the pressure he has been subjected to has to do with sales and little to do with hygiene? Has he judged -- not necessarily wrongly -- that there is no danger to reuse of what claims to be a one-use item? And is it possible that the device maker sees a loss in revenue if doctors simply sterilize what remains a perfectly good tool? Is this another example of the "use-by" dating of medications in which business affixes a label which has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the drug in question?

Why is this tool a one-use item? Who determines it and why? What is the downside of reuse ... if any? Is accusation an excuse for not rounding out a story thought good enough to post? How much revenue is generated by "one-use" as compared with "multiple-use?"

This is slovenly journalism and it is increasingly employed: The accusation is good enough. Titillation is sufficient and digging in is expensive. Multiply the holes in this Swiss cheese medical device story, apply it to politics, international affairs or other 'serious' news, and it is easy to see why "fake news" has gained traction. Not every detail of every story is possible, but does that make laziness an excuse? Does anyone ask, for example, why the stories about Iran or Israel are configured as they are?


Is that news or merely another version of Donald Trump?


  1. Too big to fail. Too big to challenge. The truth is what big brother says it is. Never mind the facts. Fact finding in the face of the announced paradigm is subversive and punishable. Keep your head down and your mouth shut or face the consequences of heroism.

  2. The Case of The Penny Wise But Pound Foolish Proctologist

    I’d be equally interested in seeing whether the patients were billed for the catheters.

    As to your wondering about ill effects, it probably depend on how he washed the catheters did he simply run soapy water through or did he also put them through an autoclave? It also depends on the stamina of the patients, use of antibiotics as a matter of course, etc.

    It’s probably reasonable to assume that the guy who was so cheap he didn’t get fresh onetime catheters didn’t bother to use an autoclave.

    Could the one time catheters even withstand the repeated heat treatment of daily autoclaving day after day.

    This is probably not the situation to use in the criticism of the state of journalism; rather it may be a good instance to use to train a journalist to be more thorough.

  3. Perhaps this is a bit more relevant to a consideration of the current state of Journalsm;

    Amid all the reports about fake news infiltrating our world in 2016 and stealing the election comes a damning piece in the Columbia Journalism Review detailing the damage real journalists did last year.

    Briefly, a study done by the Columbia Journalism Review concluded that one of the most respected mainstream media outlets, The NY Times, actually portrayed Clinton more negatively than it did Trump.

    * * *
    Regarding the story itself, I’m not disagreeing with the CJR’s conclusion or the NT Times’ editorial decisions. I think Clinton had too much baggage for the Democratic Party to have backed her. Personally, I didn’t think she was Progressive enough. But, she would have been far superior president to Trump in every way.

    I’d disagree with some of her her policy decisions. Some of that would have been hard to get past. However, I find Trump’s very existence disagreeable.

    Having shown himself to be a habitual liar, anti-environment, and an insane bigot. I can’t trust anything he says, much less does.

  4. On a related topic we have an article in Slate Magazine rejecting the notion were living in a “post-fact,” “post-truth” era.

    Lengthy but cites some science and how good science withstands correction.