aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

How it happened

I used to work in public relations in health care. Once, a doctor showed us an illustration of how mistakes happen. It was like pieces of Swiss cheese with holes in different places. If the holes line up just right, things slip through. I've seen a recreation of what happened at one hospital - a woman in labor, family that didn't speak English, understaffed unit, and, most fatally, two drugs that did completely opposite things that came in the same color of yellow vial and were stored in the same drawer. The end result was the woman and her baby both died, and the hospital, as part of the lawsuit, had to make a cautionary videotape and distribute it.

Now the NY Times is doing some soul searching of its own after running both a very good review and a feature on the woman "Margaret B. Jones" whose memoir and stories turned out to be fake.

In an editorial, which you can read here, the blame gets spread around. "The book, “Love and Consequences,” was a fake, and had Begg been asked to do five minutes of checking in readily available public records, or had reporters and editors done it themselves before the newspaper bit, The Times could have been spared the embarrassment of falling for yet another too-good-to-be-true memoir from a publishing industry unwilling to accept responsibility for separating fact from fiction."

There were a lot of holes in the Swiss cheese.

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