Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Hunting for clues to Castro's health
All through the night, we at CNN have been trying to learn more about the health of Fidel Castro.
Out of all the stories we do, getting details about the health of a public leader such as Castro can be the most difficult. It seems now that he is less likely to have cancer and more likely to have terrible diverticulitis. He is believed to have had three operations since July and continues to have a severe abdominal infection.
In fact, a Spanish newspaper reported said that Castro was continuing to "leak half a liter of fluid into his abdominal cavity every day." This can cause an infection known as peritonitis, which can be among the most difficult to control. There is no question that he is a very sick 80-year-old.
I always find the news gathering at CNN to be remarkable. In Spain, we have reporter Al Goodman, who chased down leads all day, eventually contacting a doctor who has examined Castro, and who denied the Spanish newspaper's report. We also have Morgan Neill, one of the few international reporters allowed in Havana. Finally, our international desk is always humming and was able to immediately translate the reported details of Castro's operations for me so that I could talk about them on television this morning.
Our few minutes of TV news were the result of lots of incredibly hard work by many people in several countries. As a result, there is a very good chance that CNN viewers actually know more about the health of Fidel Castro than the residents of Cuba.
Many think this is the very best of the journalistic process and the most comprehensive newsgathering. Others think that the personal health of someone, no matter how public a figure, should remain private. What do you think? Does it make a difference that we can bring you such specific details about the health of Fidel Castro?
ABOUT THE BLOGGet a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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