Tags: CNN | operation | patient | Sanjay Gupta

CNN Medical Correspondent Under Scrutiny Over Assertions

By    |   Thursday, 09 Jul 2015 05:01 PM

Questions have been raised about a young patient on whom CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta operated after an April earthquake in Nepal drawing criticism echoing the accusations of exaggeration heaped on former NBC News anchor Brian Williams.

Neurosurgeon Gupta said he performed a lifesaving brain operation on a young girl but misidentified his patient and only assisted in the procedure, the Global Press Journal reports.

In a video April 28, Gupta is shown standing near a stretcher where 8-year-old Salina Dahal was sitting, and says: "Examining her CAT scan reveals just how dire her situation is."

"She has a fractured skull, a blood clot, and her brain is swelling," Gupta says. "Without emergent surgery, she’ll have permanent damage. Or, like so many other earthquake victims, she’ll die."

The video then shows Gupta wearing scrubs in an operating room, declaring the surgery "a success. Salina will live."

But Salina didn't have any surgery, and was treated only for a broken wrist and some minor head wounds, the Global Press Journal reports.

The injuries Gupta described were of 14-year-old Sandhya Chalise, whose story was reported by CNN digital producer Tim Hume and published on CNN.com a day earlier, April 27, the Global Press Journal reports.

The later version inexplicably swaps in Salina's name.

The network and Gupta are scrambling to clarify the reporting. On the CNN website containing the Gupta story, an editor's note Wednesday reads:

"Questions have arisen about the identity of the girl who Dr. Sanjay Gupta helped operate on during a week in Nepal in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. CNN is looking into those questions and will update our coverage as warranted. Gupta helped doctors at Bir Hospital in Kathmandu perform a craniotomy in a makeshift operating room on a young patient as described in this story; it is the identity of the patient that is in question."

Gupta also appeared on CNN’s "New Day" Wednesday morning, the New York Post reports, explaining: "What has been flagged for us is the patient that I operated on may not have been this 8-year-old girl, but rather, separately, a 14-year-old girl in that same hospital during that immediate aftermath of the earthquake."

Gupta was asked to assist in a craniotomy of a "young girl," a CNN spokeswoman tells the Global Press Journal. "All the patient information including name and age was provided to Dr. Gupta by the hospital."

But Dr. Rajiv Jha, a neurosurgeon at Bir Hospital who appears in CNN’s videos and who was in the operating room when Sandhya had her craniotomy, tells the Global Press Journal that Gupta asked to assist not the other way around.

"A good surgeon knows the identity of the patient he’s operating on," Dr. Ganesh Bahadur Gurung, vice chancellor of Nepal's National Academy of Medical Science, which manages Bir Hospital, tells the Global Press Journal.

"Either [Gupta] becomes a neurosurgeon or he should be a journalist," he adds. "It is a choice. Everybody has got a choice."

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Questions have been raised about a young patient on whom CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta operated after an April earthquake in Nepal - drawing criticism echoing the accusations of exaggeration heaped on former NBC News anchor Brian Williams.
CNN, operation, patient, Sanjay Gupta
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2015-01-09
Thursday, 09 Jul 2015 05:01 PM
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