The 10 Best Health Stories Of 2016

By | May 27, 2016


As journalists, we always appreciate a good story and we’re eager to read everything we can. As the year draws to a close, we collected our favorite health journalism from 2016, including profiles we couldn’t stop thinking about, injustices that needed investigation and even a love story. 

Read the list, then get swept away for yourself: 

“When The Hospital Fires The Bullet”

By Elizabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times

When Alan Pean, then a 26-year-old student drove himself to the hospital while in the throes of a mental health emergency, he was desperately seeking help.

Instead, he was shot in the abdomen by two off-duty police officers in his hospital bed in Houston. This investigation into Pean’s shooting details America’s increasingly more armed hospital system, and explores the question of whether guns in hospitals protect patients ― or put them in danger.

“Why Did It Take 9 Hours And 3 Emergency Rooms For This Woman To Get A Rape Kit?”

By Jillian Keenan, Cosmopolitan

This horrifying narrative from Cosmopolitan tells one woman’s infuriating story of visiting three emergency rooms before successfully accessing a rape kit. It illuminates the ways in which hospitals fail sexual assault victims through creating obstacles that are stigmatizing and logistically complicated.  

“How Therapy Became A Hobby Of The Wealthy, Out Of Reach For Those In Need”

By April Dembosky, NPR

As mental health professionals increasingly turn down insurance, the disparity in accessible mental healthcare grows ever wider, leaving out the very people who need it most. 

“How U.S. Torture Left A Legacy Of Damaged Minds”

By Matt Apuzzo, Sheri Fink and James Risen, The New York Times

Collaboration from three journalists brings forth a piece about the lasting mental health effects of brutal U.S. torture programs at Guantanamo Bay and secret CIA prisons is outrageous.

The shows that detainees – many of whom were later shown to be innocent –often end up with the same psychological health profiles as American prisoners of war, raising critical questions about torture and interrogation tactics. 

“Unprepared: The Difficulty Of Getting A Prescription For A Drug That Effectively Prevents HIV Infection”

By Spenser Mestel, Longreads

Truvada helps prevent the spread of HIV. When Spenser Mestel tries to get a prescription for the medication in Iowa City, he discovered that a medical breakthrough is just part of the equation ― making it available is more complicated than you’d think. 

“OxyContin Goes Global – We’re Only Just Getting Started”

By Harriet Ryan, Lisa Girion and Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times

As part of a definitive investigation into the company behind OxyContin, this Los Angeles Times investigative team tackles corporate plans to prescribe OxyContin globally.

“The New Focus On Children’s Mental Health”

By Emily Goldberg, The Atlantic

A deep dive published in The Atlantic exposed the growing problem of children’s mental health – 17 million young people meet criteria for disorders which affect the ability to learn, behave and express their emotions, but few teachers are equipped to address the issue. The story highlights some of the great programs working to fix this probl. 

“Locked On The Psych Ward”

By Rosalind Adams, Buzzfeed

A chilling investigative report on for-profit psychiatric hospitals reveals how psychiatric wards hold down patients, bills insurers and creates profit from unwell patients. 

“Can Tylenol Help Heal A Broken Heart?”

By Melissa Hill, The New York Times

When college student Melissa Hill’s boyfriend breaks her heart, she remembers a research paper she came across in her studies: When your heart hurts, pop a Tylenol.

“Theranos Whistleblower Shook The Company ― And His Family”

By John Carreyou, The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou broke the Theranos scandal late in 2015, but spent all of 2016 investigating and fleshing out the fraud, logistical struggles and organizational problems that were the biotech startup’s downfall. No piece showcases his careful, thorough reporting more than this incredible profile of whistleblower, Tyler Shultz. Bonus: Here’s the rest of his work on Theranos


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