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Tuesday, July 22nd 2008

Why Local News Sucks

So this story is seemingly tragic. In it a young Florida woman with Chiari Type I is having debilitating headaches and is about to get a p fossa decompression to cure her when her insurance company cancels her family’s health insurance plan and she doesn’t get the operation.

Here is how the story describes it,

A 19-year-old Tampa Bay, Fla., woman is suffering from a debilitating brain disorder that may kill her after an insurance company canceled the family’s medical coverage just before she was due to receive life-saving brain surgery, Tampa Bay’s 10 News reported.

First and foremost, this disorder is typically far, far from a medical emergency. But you wouldn’t know that from the story.

Second, we don’t know in the slightest the circumstances around the cancellation of this insurance policy. All we know is the apparent timing of it and even that is questionable. Aetna canceled the policy “just” before the surgery? Hours before? Days before? A week before? Three weeks before? More?

In anycase, while this story is potentially heart wrenching it also demonstrates the stumbling in relying on the media for the whole picture when it comes to complex, technical issues.