About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Articles that might interest you

Here are the links to a couple more health articles that might interest you:

1. My colleague, Bill Tolbert, had an excellent piece here in our Sunday Healthy Living section. Tolbert, one of the editors here, has end stage kidney disease and does dialysis. He is on waiting lists for a new kidney at two hospitals. He writes about what it was like recently when one of those hospitals called to say they might have a kidney for him. A sampling:

Carol and Bill Tolbert

“The Johns Hopkins representative explained that the kidney was from a man who died of head trauma. They still had some testing to perform, and would call me back to tell me if I needed to make the drive to Baltimore for the surgery. We quickly finished the errand and hurried home. That’s when the emotions started going up and down wildly in short periods of time–much like those roller coasters I can’t stand.”

2. Last month Forbes magazine had an interesting piece here on “America’s Most Profitable Hospitals.” The magazine examined Medicare data and concluded that 24 hospitals in the country had operating margins of 25 percent of more. Fifteen of the hospitals on the list were for-profit hospitals. HCA, owner of the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, had 10 hospitals in the top 25. A sampling:

“That kind of (25 percent) profit margin compares favorably to drug giants like Pfizer, who are often vilified for charging too much for their drugs. It easily beats the operating profit margin that General Electric reported last year.”

3. This one may interest only me, but I thought it was great. It is the report here of a study published this month in Australia. It posed the question: Does it matter who writes medical news stories? The study looked at 1,337 news stories and concluded that reporters who specialize in health news do a better job of covering it than general reporters. (I tell anyone who asks that I have the best job in the newsroom. Covering health has everything: personal stories, business developments and, of course, a heavy dose of science. Now that I have done it, I wouldn’t want to cover anything else.)  A sampling from the Australian study:

“There is no doubt that the traditional media are in a state of flux and there is pressure to economize. One outcome has been the downsizing of newsrooms across the world. An easy option for a pressured editor is to purchase health stories from foreign media outlets or news organizations. But the data presented here suggest that s/he should choose carefully.”

An earlier post with other readings is here.


  • Amanda Richardson Ferrell

    B.T. I want you to know that you and your family are in my prayers. I miss your lively personality and I know that you will find a donor. Please keep your spirits up. Tell all hello.