Friday, January 13, 2006

Don't Visit Hospitals, According To WTOP

Among the things I can count on each morning is at least one story on WTOP that is ridiculous and has zero substance that makes me waste 30 seconds of my life. Many times, these stories derive from a lobby group or the latest medical study to suggest that food abc is good for you and food xyz will kill you. Of course, since there's no time for a complete story, we never hear the other side of the study to argue holes in its logic or why respected parts of the medical community completely dismissed it. Nevertheless, WTOP seems to always run dry on stories so everything is reported in the hopes that something will stick.

Don't ask for a CT scan, it's not worth the risk of a hospital visit.

At 6:43 this morning, WTOP managed to talk about health news and get on its knees to spew some more lobbyist garbage speak. Instead of giving any context like background information, opposing viewpoints, or even how it was determined, WTOP reported that you'll get sicker by visiting a hospital. That's right, don't go to the hospital when you're feeling sick. Of course, they teased this story to no end. Nothing compares to creating a frenzy among your listeners by making them think they can't go to the hospital for help. What is this, the local Fox Radio affiliate now?

Though he only had strep throat, he got Gumby disease by visiting. He's a reminder why WTOP said hospitals are the last place you should go when you're sick.

WTOP quoted some research (from a Denver Post column) that said, "100,000 Americans die each year from hospital-acquired diseases." And just what respected medical association/university put this together? The Service Employees International Union did. There's nothing like quoting a fact sheet distributed by a union with clear intentions. That's not to say facts should be ignored, but their source should be greatly considered. Nevermind that 100,000 (however they compiled that number and chose what categories to include is beyond the report's depth) is an incredibly low percentage of patients seen each year. I'd like to think the average listener can see the big picture of total patients, but I doubt it. If you can't see what I mean, I found a random hospital, the White Plains Hospital Center, and found in 2004, it alone had over 100,000 patients visit its radiology department.

Why get an operation when you'll just sicker and die from entering the hospital anyway?

What did WTOP expect its listeners to think after hearing this information? Thanks for this great reporting. Now when I need an emergency appendectomy, I'll ask the ambulance to take me to the nearest CVS to get medical supplies and do the work at home. I mean, I wouldn't want to go to a hospital where, according to WTOP, I'd get sicker and die because it's not like this area doesn't have a handful of world renown hospitals. All I'm asking is if you're actually going to report something as drastically stupid as this, at least give some background to it. It's hard to think any editor would give the okay to a story that simply says, "don't visit hospitals, because you'll just get sicker and even die," but then again, this is WTOP.

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