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RAPID ASSESSMENT

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

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Yes, I love to stir the pot

I’d like to answer a couple of questions that readers asked in response to Monday’s post about Sentara and whether the Norfolk hospital chain might be interested in taking over  Mary Washington Healthcare. On Monday, an anonymous commenter asked, “Jim, were you a former patient? Do you have a grudge? I’ve noticed you like to stir the pot. That stew of yours has a rancid odor.”

The commenter is absolutely right about one thing: I am a lousy cook. To me, stew is something made by that famous Southern chef Dinty Moore. When I’m on my own, dinner usually involves a trek to the salad bar at Giant.

To answer the other part of the question: No, I don’t bear a grudge. At least I’m not aware of it if I do. I certainly don’t have any reason to be angry at anyone. I have never been a patient at Mary Washington Hospital, Stafford Hospital or the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. My sons have been patients at Mary Washington several times, and each time I was pleased with the care they received. No family member has ever been a patient at the Stafford or Spotsylvania hospitals. I respect greatly many of the people I have met at all three hospitals. In fact they have inspired me to think of health care, at least the clinical side of it, as a possible encore career.

As for stirring the pot: I am not a publicist for either hospital company. It is not my job to show them in their best light.  I am not paid by them, nor do I have any advisory position with them. I am a newspaper reporter, plain and simple. My job, as I see it, is like the umpire at the baseball game, to call it as I see it.

I’m happy to report on items that the local hospitals are proud of. I’ve noticed that both Mary Washington and Spotsylvania Regional often link to this blog or to my stories on their Facebook pages. They wouldn’t do that if the stories cast them in a negative light. I’m fine with that. I write to be read.

But my bosses, and perhaps many readers, also expect me to report on those items that the hospitals would just as soon not be public. As the saying goes, news is what they don’t want you to know. Everything else is publicity. If that is stirring the pot, I plead guilty.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/rapidassessment/2010/10/06/yes-i-do-stir-the-pot/

  • B.BBB

    You say you call it as you see it, the question is, where is your evidenced based data? You say you are like an umpire, what exactly do you see? Or is it you post what you hear? Post perceptions or hearsay… I guess being a pseudo reporter is an easy job, It doesnt take much skill to damage reputations based purely on falsehoods and misconceptions, thats why they pay you the big bucks Jim…

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    I love Dinty Moors’! This is pretty good stuff I think if you don’t have time to prepare a meal. Thanks for the post, would like to read more

  • LarryG

    Not that Jim needs defending… I’ve found his articles to be balanced and fair for the most part and would encourage him to continue to call it as he sees it.

    If some has a specific example.. they ought to post it and give the man a chance to respond.

  • Stafford

    Or if Jim has proof of what he posts, perhaps he can post the validity of his findings. Its not for the public to prove Jim wrong, Jims job is to post what is factual so the community is aware of the truth, not what a “reporter” states is the truth. Unless Jim has witnessed first hand of what he reports, its all nonsense and a waste of the readers time.

  • Kaye

    Hm. Judging from the misspellings, grammatical errors and poor punctuation I’d guess “Stafford” and “B.BBB” are the same person. (And “A.AAA” from the Sentara post, obviously.) You know what? I am far more likely to trust the reporter who puts his name on his stories and blogs than the anonymous coward who takes potshots from under his rock, no matter what alias he uses.

  • Kaye

    One more thing, Stafford alias A.AAA alias B.BBB. If anyone has a grudge it seems to be you. I’d be interested to know how you think this reporter wronged you, and why you find it contemptible that he might repeat gossip and hearsay but think it’s OK for you to do just that. From the Sentara post: You “heard” he is on the board at HCA? Really? Can you prove that? Fascinating if you can. Let’s see your data.

  • Reader

    Jim Hall is a hell of a reporter and Fredericksburg is lucky to have him. The angry commenter was probably the subject of one of his stories and bears a grudge, but if you’re a reporter and nobody is angry at you then you probably aren’t doing your job.

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    I’m happy to report on items that the local hospitals are proud of. I’ve noticed that both Mary Washington and Spotsylvania Regional often link to this blog or to my stories on their Facebook pages. They wouldn’t do that if the stories cast them in a negative light. I’m fine with that. I write to be read.