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“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
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“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
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“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
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“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University

12. 180,000 Patients Die Annually fron Treatment in Hospitals

Sources: HEALTH LETTER Date: August 1995 Title: “Hospital Errors” Author: Excerpted from ABC “Nightline” (7/4/95) transcript; NEWSDAY Date: 7/17/95 Title: “No mortality rate stats for hospitals”; Author: Thomas Maier

SYNOPSIS: More people are killed or seriously injured in U.S. hospi­tals annually than from airline and automobile accidents combined.

An estimated 1.3 million people a year receive some kind of injury related to treatment at hospitals, and 180,000 of those people die.

About half of these deaths­80,000 to 90,000 of them-are pre­ventable, the result of negligence, such as prescribing the wrong med­icine, receiving the wrong dose of medication, or adverse drug inter­actions.

The first in-depth look at how often such drug errors occur was published in the July 5, 1995, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The JAMA report revealed that there were 6.5 drug complications for every 100 admissions to the hospital. The major problems were four areas: the wrong drug or the wrong dose; incorrect copies of the drug order; pharmacies dispensing the wrong drug order; and nurses administering the drug to the wrong patient. While most patients survive these drug errors, some people, like Betsy Lehman, a health writer from Chicago, and Vince Gargano, a postal worker from Chicago, died from incorrect and fatal doses of anti-cancer drugs.

Most hospitals lack systems which could automatically double check individual decisions. Two hospitals in Boston-Massachusetts General and Brigham a Women’s-have just instituted such a system to catch mistakes  before patients suffer from the Other hospitals say such systems too expensive.

But Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of the Public Citizen’s Heal Research Group, pointed out that “Several billion dollars a year being wasted treating preventable adverse drug reactions.”

Given the extent of injuries a deaths from hospital errors, c must wonder why the American public isn’t more aware of this problem.

Unfortunately, hospitals are not adequately regulated and there is little to no public accountability in America’s health care system. (The #8 Censored story of 1993, “America’s Deadly Doctors,” pointed out how the medical pro­fession fails to report its incompe­tent physicians.)

Both written and verbal queries about hospitals made to the joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations have gone unanswered, according to Wolfe. “For instance,” Wolfe pointed out, “we don’t have a list of the 40 per­cent of hospitals who did not pass the test, in terms of quality review over surgery and medicine. But I think the more important point is that this should be a public func­tion. Why is the airline industry, with a much better crash record than hospitals, a public function? Why does the public demand, when a crash occurs or when pilots get licensed, that we look at what’s going on? We don’t have those kinds of data.”

Compounding the problem, in 1995 the Clinton administration quietly killed the formerly ­required yearly report comparing hospitals’ death rates for Medicare patients, replacing it with less con­frontational “systems-oriented” analyses that concentrate on how hospitals generally can perform better. The new reporting require­ments do not publicly identify local institutions or their perfor­mance, including mortality rates.

SSU Censored Researcher: Nikki Washburn

COMMENTS: Sidney Wolfe, editor of the Health Letter and par­ticipant in the ABC “Nightline” program excerpted in the above-­cited article, suggested that most of the coverage of this issue was in the form of local examples-the Boston Globe reporter killed by an overdose of cancer drugs; a Tampa hospital cutting off the wrong leg/arthro­scoping the wrong knee, etc. “The `Nightline’ piece was one of the only, if not the only, national media stories about the causes or solu­tions to the problem of 80,000 people killed in American hospitals annually.

“The solution to hospital (or doctor-office) errors will not occur as long as the problem is portrayed as specific to certain places. Especially in light of increasing trends of understaffing hospitals, they are once again becoming places where too many people go to die. Hospital trustees (and patients) cannot exercise their ability to improve conditions in their hospi­tals unless the scope of this problem is known.

Wolfe said that organized medi­cine and organized hospitals/HMOs are most likely to benefit from the limited coverage; they can simply pretend that this is just a few bad apples and that the basket is mainly okay.

Wolfe also noted that the Health Letter will publish “13,000+ Questionable Doctors,” the fourth version of their report naming those physicians disciplined by fed­eral or state authorities, in early 1996. And, he concluded, “Much more vigilance concerning all doc­tors and hospitals is needed.”

Thomas Maier, author of the Newsday article, said, “Each year, an estimated 180,000 Americans die from injuries caused in their hospitals-the same place where most people probably think they are safest. Yet as this Newsday story exposed, the only public method of keeping track of death rates in hos­pitals in the U.S. was quietly killed in 1995. Newsday’s story, which received no attention from the national media, highlighted how the Clinton Administration reneged on its promise to provide consumers with “report cards’ on local hospital performance, and instead dismantled the only federal barometer of that performance.

“Before these yearly reports were eliminated, the results of death rates in local hospitals often drew large headlines in the press. Hospitals, doctors and administra­tors often objected to the yearly tests-including Clinton’s new appointee to the same agency that wound up killing the studies.

“What happened here is a classic example of how the govern­ment lied to the press and no one ever followed up. Yet, the conse­quences are extremely important to anyone who enters a hospital in this country. With more information about death rates instead of less, patients could make intelligent decisions about where to go when they are sick, and policy-makers could take action to improve hospi­tals where performance appears to be poor.

“Clearly, the medical commu­nity lobbied hard for the elimina­tion of the death rates studies and the creation of a new ‘systems­-oriented’ review where the results are never made public. Hospital administrators get a private briefing about the problems found in their institutions. But the public which pays millions for the studies never does.”

Maier also noted that Newsday has worked hard on behalf of the public’s right to know. “Newsday has pushed hard to make govern­ment mortality rate studies avail­able to the public,” Maier said. “Three years ago, Newsday won a lawsuit which forced New York state officials to make public its death rate statistics on cardiac by­pass surgery.”

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