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.

Search results for "mortality" ...

  • Northwest Jails' Mounting Death Toll

    Since 2008, at least 306 people across the Northwest have died after being taken to a county jail. Until now, that number was unknown, in part because Oregon and Washington have not comprehensively tracked those deaths in county jails. If they did, they would find a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe. Key findings: - Over the past 10 years, the rate of jail deaths has trended upward in Oregon and Washington. In 2008, county jails in Washington had a mortality rate of about 123 deaths for every 100,000 inmates. By 2017, that rate was 162. Jail population data for 2018 were not yet available at the time of publication, but reported deaths spiked that year. A conservative estimate puts the 2018 mortality rate closer to 200 deaths per 100,000 inmates. - In 2018, police shot and killed 39 people between Oregon and Washington, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. For that same year, our investigation found 39 deaths in Oregon and Washington county jails. - At least 70 percent of Northwest inmates who died in the past decade were awaiting trial at the time of their deaths, still considered innocent under the law. - More than 40 percent of deaths happened within an inmate’s first week in jail. A third of all inmates who died never made it past three days. - Suicide, by far the leading cause of jail deaths in the Pacific Northwest, accounted for nearly half of all cases with a known cause of death.
  • Texas Tribune: Dangerous Deliveries

    The Texas Tribune's Dangerous Deliveries project revealed how state lawmakers squandered opportunities to help more women access life-saving services, and how that fed the state's crisis-level maternal mortality rate for black women. And it underscored the critical nature of the problem by telling the stories of women like Sable Swallow, an uninsured waitress who was released from the hospital after giving birth even though she told nurses she had a terrible headache. After she left the hospital, the 25-year-old had a stroke.
  • Maria’s dead

    On September 20, Puerto Rico was devastated by the strongest hurricane that has hit the island in the last century. In the weeks after the storm, the government insisted there were only a few dozen deaths, but reporting on the ground by the Center for Investigative Journalism suggested there were hundreds. Officials also refused to provide overall mortality statistics that could help measure the impact of the storm. Given the lack of a reliable official death toll, we put together our own database with information collected from family members through an online survey, reporting, and tips. We verified those deaths by matching the victims’ names with government death records CPI eventually obtained through a lawsuit, and through nearly 300 phone interviews with victims’ relatives. We analyzed that material, as well as historic demographic data, to detect changes in mortality trends after the storm.
  • Hurricane Maria’s dead

    On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was devastated by the strongest hurricane that has hit the island in the last century. In the weeks after the storm, the government insisted there were only a few dozen deaths, but reporting on the ground by the Center for Investigative Journalism suggested there were hundreds. Officials also refused to provide overall mortality statistics that could help measure the impact of the storm. Given the lack of a reliable official death toll, we put together our own database with information collected from family members through an online survey, reporting, and tips. We verified those deaths by matching the victims’ names with government death records CPI eventually obtained through a lawsuit, and through nearly 300 phone interviews with victims’ relatives. We analyzed that material, as well as historic demographic data, to detect changes in mortality trends after the storm.
  • Secret Deaths: CNN uncovers high surgical mortality rate at a Florida hospital

    Cohen’s groundbreaking investigation on Anderson Cooper 360 told the story of how the state of Florida allowed a troubled pediatric heart surgery program in West Palm Beach to continue to operate despite a high mortality rate and against the advice of its own experts. After Cohen’s story, St. Mary’s Medical Center shuttered the program and the CEO resigned.
  • 60 Dead Inmates

    Between 2007 and 2012, 60 inmates died in San Diego County jail facilities, resulting in the county having the highest inmate mortality rate in California. It's a trend that's only gotten worse since a Bureau of Justice Statistics report showing that between 2000 and 2007, San Diego had the second highest death rate of California’s large jail systems. Through an exhaustive review of documents, CityBeat uncovered death attributed to excessive force by deputies, poor supervision of mentally ill and drug dependent inmates and a department that doesn't adhere to its own policies when it comes to monitoring the most at-risk inmates. This has resulted in at least five lawsuits against the county. We followed up our initial series by tracking deaths in 2013, and found continued lapses in policy and continued poor oversight of vulnerable inmates.
  • Moms: Hospital Killed Our Kids

    The outside of the Kentucky Children's Hospital is all colorful paintings and smiling photos, but inside there's a dark secret. Connor Wilson was the first to die, on August 30, at six months old. His parents, while heartbroken, didn't think anything was amiss until another baby in the same ward, Rayshawn Lewis-Smith, died. Then they found out Waylon Rainey, also on the cardiac surgery floor, coded and was on life support and a fourth baby, Jaxon Russell needed a second surgery at another hospital to fix a heart surgery he'd had a Kentucky Children's. All of these events happened within eight weeks, after which the hospital closed its cardiac surgery program and placed its chief surgeon on leave. When the parents asked the hospital questions, the hospital wouldn't answer them. When a local reporter started asking questions, the hospital sued her. When the state Attorney General asked these same basic questions - how many pediatric heart surgeries they did, their mortality rates - the hospital refused to hand over the data. When the AG ruled they were in violation of state law by not releasing their data, the hospital appealed the ruling. Now the hospital says they plan to re-open their pediatric cardiac surgery program, and these parents are up in arms. How could the hospital possibly open back up with this kind of track record, without even releasing the most basic safety data, which many other hospitals release all the time? And why haven't state or federal regulators rushed in to stop the program from re-opening - they haven't even opened an investigation. Elizabeth Cohen investigates.
  • Birthing Center

    After a Lansing-area couple sued a freestanding birth center over the death of their son, the Lansing State Journal embarked on a three-month investigation into the practices of the midwives there and the attitudes of the natural birth community which rallied behind them. The State Journal was able to confirm five newborn deaths in a 10-year span – a rate much higher than the national neonatal mortality rate – and a string of maternal injuries or complications. The investigation ultimately revealed a troubling lack of data and oversight for out-of-hospital births in Michigan, a track record of questionable practices at the birth center and a pattern of heated disagreement over whether homebirths are safe. Three months after the project ran, the birth center in question closed its doors.
  • Uncounted Casualties

    A three-day series that analyzed causes of death for 266 Texas veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The six-month investigation uncovered previously unknown information, pulling data from a variety of federal, state and local sources. The series, which also depended on extensive interviews with family members and fellow service members, revealed the startling number of Texas veterans dying of prescription drug overdoses, suicides and motor vehicle crashes. The newspaper's analysis was hailed by epidemiologists and former Department of Veterans Affairs researchers as an important step in understanding veteran mortality, and led to calls for better government tracking of how veterans are dying.
  • 3F Members Die Prematurely

    The story investigated the death records of all members of the union 3F (unskilled workers) and compared this mortality rate to standard mortality rates for the population as a whole. The aim was to see which union members had higher (or lower) mortality rates, and which causes of death were higher and lower compared to the population on the whole.