Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

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  • Forsaken by the Indian Health Service

    PBS’s Frontline and The Wall Street Journal investigated sexual predators, terrible doctors, and inept leaders within the U.S. Indian Health Service.
  • A Dangerous Delay

    In November 2018, Olivia Paregol’s father frantically called the University of Maryland from the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The 18-year-old freshman, who had lived in a mold-infested dorm, was fighting for her life and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Was there anything else on campus making students sick? The director of the student health center knew of severe cases of adenovirus on campus but the public had no clue. Less than a week later, Olivia was dead from the virus and the outbreak would sicken dozens of students. It was only after her death that school officials informed the campus about the virus. Ian Paregol had more questions than answers: How long had the university known? Why didn’t they tell Olivia or other students when they showed up sick at the student health center? Washington Post reporters Jenn Abelson, Amy Brittain and Sarah Larimer interviewed more than 100 people and obtained thousands of pages of medical records, hundreds of emails, text messages, voicemails and other documents to reconstruct the events that led to Olivia’s death and threatened the health and safety of thousands of students at the University of Maryland campus. College officials said it would cost $63,000 to disclose internal emails about the outbreak, so reporters obtained many of those records from state and county agencies. In May, the Washington Post published “A Dangerous Delay,” a detailed investigation examining the outbreak of mold and adenovirus at the University of Maryland. The reporters revealed that the school waited 18 days to inform students about the virus and officials discussed — but decided against — notifying students with compromised immune systems, like Olivia, and those living in mold-infested dorms.
  • "Healthy Holly" and University of Maryland Medical System Investigation

    The “Healthy Holly” scandal began with a suggestion from a source, a state legislator who told Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater she thought there might be some irregular contracting practices going on at the University of Maryland Medical System. Broadwater, busy covering the General Assembly session, filed a public records request. The documents showed that Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and other members of the hospital network’s board of directors had no-bid contracts with the medical system -- though the extent of those contracts, especially Pugh's, were not fully described. Broadwater's story -- written quickly as a daily as soon as he received the documents -- was breaking news that got the attention of Maryland's political establishment: University of Maryland Medical System pays members of volunteer board hundreds of thousands in business deals. Immediately, Broadwater and other Baltimore Sun reporters followed their instincts and tips that were coming in -- including that Pugh had failed to print many of the books she’d been paid to produce, while thousands of others were sitting unread in a Baltimore school system warehouse. Meanwhile, Sun reporters pulled ethics forms, poured over tax records, filed public information requests and worked sources, breaking story after story that exposed a widening scandal that rocked the state of Maryland, perhaps more than any other series of articles in decades. Their work led to the resignation of the mayor, the UMMS CEO and other top officials, including every member of the medical system's board of directors.
  • In the hot seat

    When reporters at NBC News began probing OSHA severe injury data in February 2019, an interesting takeaway emerged: UPS had a higher rate of heat injuries than any other company. At least 107 UPS workers in 23 states had been hospitalized for heat illnesses since 2015. In severe cases, heat can lead to organ failure and death. But regulators have little enforcement ability on this issue because there is no OSHA standard protecting workers from heat--even as climate change brings record-breaking temperatures. NBC News filed more than two dozen public records requests for state-level data -- to supplement the federal OSHA data -- and hundreds of pages of incident reports, and spoke with dozens of UPS employees, uncovering a corporate culture that exacerbated the problem. Long hours, heavy routes, fear of retaliation and sweltering trucks and warehouses pushed workers workers past their limits. Managers pushing workers to continue working when sick, and employees too intimidated to report their injuries. UPS claimed that their iconic brown trucks do not get dangerously hot, but NBC News sent five temperature loggers in packages across the country, during one of the hottest weeks of the summer. The results showed that each package exceeded 100 degrees while on a truck, with one hitting nearly 115 degrees. Drivers around the country also sent us images of temperature readings they took in their own trucks -- the hottest clocked in at 158 degrees. Between rising temperatures and the growing demands of the two-day delivery economy, dozens of UPS drivers said conditions are getting worse. Follow up stories uncovered additional injuries and more examples of UPS poorly protecting its workers from the heat. Following our story, OSHA fined UPS for a heat injury for the first time in nearly a decade.
  • The Implant Files

    For decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s medical-device approval system has allowed defective implants to spill onto the market, like contaminated water from a broken pipe. Many of those products have remained on hospital shelves, and in patient bodies, long after problems were known. On Sunday, November 25, 2018, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Associated Press, the NBC News investigative unit and partners around the world published a yearlong investigation that shows regulators bowing to industry pressure to rush approvals, lower safety standards and cloak critical information, and the consequences: a string of grisly accidents that have left hundreds of thousands disfigured, disabled or dead.
  • Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

    In response to mass shootings, some schools and hospitals have been installing devices equipped with machine learning algorithms that purport to identify stressed and angry voices before violence erupts. Our analysis found this technology unreliable. Our goal was to reverse-engineer the algorithm, so we could see for ourselves if it actually worked as the company advertised. (One salesperson suggested to us that the device could prevent the next school shooting.) We purchased the device and rewired its programming so we could feed it any sound clip of our choosing. We then played gigabytes of sound files for the algorithm and measured its prediction for each. After this preliminary testing, we ran several real-world experiments to test where the algorithm could be flawed. We recorded the voices of high school students in real-world situations, collected the algorithm's predictions and analyzed them.
  • Kaiser Health News: Nursing home investigations

    In a series of data-driven stories, Kaiser Health News revealed that tens of thousands of nursing home residents are dying because the facilities are woefully understaffed and painful infections are routinely left untreated or poorly cared for. In the most horrific cases, patients are cycling in out of hospitals with open wounds or bedsores that trigger sepsis or septic shock, a deadly bloodstream infection that is the leading killer in hospital ICUs.
  • WEWS-TV: Broken Trust

    In March 2018, Cleveland’s University Hospitals announced that a catastrophic failure at its fertility clinic resulted in a tank malfunction that destroyed 2,000 embryos – days after News 5 received information from a source and began digging into what happened. We found patients impacted by the failure who shared with us letters they received from the hospital, where University Hospitals claimed some eggs may be salvaged. Within weeks, however, the hospital admitted the situation was significantly worse. In fact, every single egg and embryo, 4,000 in total, was lost. As soon as the news broke of the failure, WEWS-TV understood the magnitude of this failure for the patients. The entire newsroom mobilized to uncover how this could happen and hold hospital officials accountable.
  • CBC: Unassisted Death

    In a powerful series of stories, CBC Edmonton revealed the devastating human cost of the medical-assistance-in-dying (MAID) policy of Alberta’s massive Catholic health provider, Covenant Health. By default, Covenant's policy prohibited patients from even signing their MAID request forms, or undergoing eligibility assessments by provincial medical staff, on its publicly funded property. Covenant Health also explicitly prohibits assisted deaths from taking place in its facilities.
  • The Star Tribune’s ketamine investigation

    Paramedics at Minnesota’s largest safety-net hospital, at the urging of Minneapolis police, were using a powerful sedative on people and enrolling them in a study without their consent, and in some cases where it seemed unnecessary and harmful. The Star Tribune’s reporting halted the studies and triggered multiple investigations.