Posing as patient’s son is an unfair reporter trick p.

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By: Editorial Staff

A GUELPH MERCURY reporter acted unfairly when he failed to identify himself as a reporter while getting information from a hospital employee, the Ontario Press Council ruled.
Kathleen Pranger, an admitting clerk at St. Joseph’s Hospital, said she was tricked into discussing hospital policy by a Mercury reporter who said over the telephone that his mother was a patient in a nursing home affiliated with the hospital.
Admissions procedures at St. Joseph’s have been a subject of some controversy.
So when Pranger told the reporter that people seeking admission to St. Joseph’s are first referred to Guelph General Hospital, the information was included in a story.
Hospital administrators deny that is the policy, and Pranger, emphasizing she is not authorized to speak for the institution, said she was embarrassed by the misstatement.
For its part, the newspaper said it took this reporting route because it had been getting the runaround from hospital officials.
The reporter, who was not identified by the press council, said he did not say he had a mother in the nursing home, but only asked what would happen if he wanted to have his mother admitted.

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