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Amid recognition of all manner of excellent journalism, it is with both sincere gratitude and some surprise I report that our coverage of MRSA seemed to resonate strongly at the annual National Press Club Awards recently in Washington, DC.
“MRSA Patient Stories,” a two-part series in the Nov-Dec 2010 issues of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention, claimed top prize in the category of Best Analytical Reporting in Newsletter Journalism. While putting some pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to adopt more aggressive measures against the pathogen, the report lent a human face to the annual toll of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
In conversations at the awards dinner, several audience members and fellow award winners recounted their own stories of health care associated infections (HAIs). It is all too clear that HAIs have touched so many lives and ended so many others. This was brought home in a rather surprising way, after I accepted the HIC award and returned to my seat beside my wife, Jenny Rose.
“My mother died of MRSA. Thank you very much for your work,” said Lara Logan, reporter for CBS News and 60 Minutes, looking out into the audience from the podium.
Having just received a standing ovation as much for her individual courage as her receipt of the NPC’s Freedom of the Press Award, Logan touched on her vicious assault in Cairo’s Tahrir Square while covering the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt. The outpouring of support from her colleagues in journalism helped her get through the traumatic aftermath, she said.
“It was like being a newborn baby – you feel that kind of vulnerable,” Logan said. “Everything my colleagues came out and said about what happened to me – personally, privately, publicly – was just like wrapping me in a blanket. I could start to rebuild and find that person that was lying in Tahrir Square somewhere. I am so grateful for that in so many ways.”