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Resource ID: #26065
Subject: Hospitals
Source: Washingtonian
Affiliation: 
Date: Web: May 22, 2013, Print: July 2013

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Description

This special report broke the story of a public health crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of people: a nationwide shortage of IV nutrients so drastic that hospitals were hoarding, rationing, and bartering them in order to keep patients from dying. Despite the veil of secrecy surrounding the issue, Robbins persuaded hospital staff, patient families, and drug manufacturing personnel to speak for this story. She gained access to Congressional documents that had not been made public, used Internet archival research to track the FDA's drug shortage updates, and reviewed hundreds if not thousands of pages of FDA records, government briefs and reports, and medical studies to determine how these problems could happen in 21st-century America when they were not happening abroad. The article went viral on social media, was Longreads.com's number-one article of the week and became the most viewed online article in Washingtonian history. As a result of the piece, a source and a reader together started a petition to Congress that has amassed thousands of signatures. The article also has been circulated among the staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. After two-and-a-half years of inaction - one week after Washingtonian published the article and about three months after Robbins began making inquiries to FDA employees - the FDA announced that it finally would begin to import some of the nutrients in shortage.

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