Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

A machine that makes it hard to die

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USA/Our latest special report by Toni Clarke and Debra Sherman examines how a new heart pump is revolutionizing heart failure treatment.

Dr Lynne Warner Stevenson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, raises a fascinating ethical question about the device, made by Thoratec. “This is one of the ways our technology has moved ahead of our humanity,” she said. “We haven’t had enough experience yet about how to help people die naturally who have a ventricular assist device. And I can tell you, it is difficult to die with one of these things in place. The body does not give up easily when the blood flow is maintained.”

One big advantage: the knotty problem of deciding who, of the thousands of patients who need a heart transplant, actually gets one, has largely been obviated with the introduction of a robotic heart assist device that can be used in thousands of patients with end-stage heart failure.

“It relieves us of the very uncomfortable problem of distributive justice in terms of heart organs and removes what has always been quite a challenging ethical problem,” said Stevenson, who is also the director of Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Reuters wins major investigative prize

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CANCER/UPDATED: Congratulations to Murray Waas whose special report on insurers dropping patients with breast cancer has won the Barlett & Steele Award for investigative business reporting.

A four-month investigation, supported by additional reporting from Lewis Krauskopf,  revealed that a giant health insurer had targeted policyholders recently diagnosed with breast cancer for aggressive investigations and canceled some policies. An exhaustive study of records, hearings and federal data, as well as dozens of interviews with experts, officials and patients led to the story, which was edited by Jim Impoco and Doina Chiacu.

Club Fed: the ties that bind at the Fed

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USA-FED/BERNANKE We’re getting a lot of good feedback on our special report on cozy ties between Wall Street and the Fed. As one Wall Street economist put it: “I’ve never seen the ‘Fed Alumni Association’ used more extensively for back-channel communications with the Street than has been the case since June.”

The story pulls back the veil on the privileged access that Federal Reserve officials give to big investors, former Fed officials, money market advisers and hedge funds.

It’s all Brazil, all the time

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BRAZIL-ECONOMY/CHINAAnother day, another Brazil story. No, not Petrobras, though that is worth reading too.

Luciana Lopez has a story about soy and shoes. It might seem like an odd combination but the two are important industries in Brazil which is undergoing an economic transformation as it comes to terms with China’s growing global clout.

In case you missed them

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Just because it was summer, doesn’t mean we weren’t busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

IRAN-OBAMA/ECOMOMYTracking Iran’s nuclear money trail to Turkey. U.N. correspondent Lou Charbonneau – who used to cover the IAEA for Reuters –  followed the money to Turkey where an Iranian bank under U.S. and EU sanctions is operating freely. Nice to see the New York Times follow up on this today, and the Washington Post also quizzed Turkey’s president about it.

Enter stage left — Brazil’s next president?

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BRAZIL-ELECTION/ROUSSEFFNot every president has a police mugshot, but it’s not so surprising in Latin America.

A special report out of Brazil today sheds new light on Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla leader who is likely to be elected the booming country’s next president. She spent nearly three years in jail in the early 1970s and was tortured by her military captors. She’s come a long way since then.

Dive in, the water’s fine

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Special reports are the best of the best from Reuters, and this is the place to find them. We’ll be featuring investigative stories, in-depth profiles and long-form narrative stories here.

Reuters has a global Enteprise Reporting team with editors in New York, London and Singapore, drawing on the work of some 2,900 journalists in 200 bureaus around the world.