Detroit Paper Uncovers Dirty Surgical Tool Problem at City Hospitals

Stories about medical dangers often rely on anecdotes about specific patients at risk. But in a recent investigative series, reporters Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth of The Detroit News showed another way to tell a compelling, high-impact narrative: Backed by key documents and interviews, they demonstrated persistent, systemic problems with dirty surgical instruments at a hospital network in the city. The series has prompted a joint state-federal investigation, spurred a flurry of coverage in other Detroit news outlets, and could galvanize an important discussion about public disclosure of hospital safety data.

In the first article of the series, published August 26, Bouffard and Kurth get right to the point: They have about 200 pages of emails and reports that depict years of complaints about dirty instruments from staffers and surgeons at Detroit Medical Center’s Midtown campus:



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