Libel411's 'Trick' Graph

I confess, GA didn't pay much attention to Grim Reaper Klaussen's Graphs-o-Death-  his predictors that  HoldCo-owned hospitals would more likely kill than heal you.

But... the (2) graphs were 'tricks' designed to confuse if  glanced at and compared side-by-side;  the bars drawn to different scales.  See?

A reader email pointed this out by actually READING the numbers on his graphs:

it says that ACTUAL deaths for 2010 in:
doesnt that suggest that there are more deaths at JCMC the BMC?
Of course, reader.  Here's what Klaussen's graph should ACTUALLY read if both are combined at the same scale. 

Notice... Klaussen's data shows ACTUAL deaths LESS at the HoldCO hospital, BMC, than at the JCMC.  His 'projections'?   Libelous sludge.

Well, this is all just 'stuff and nonsense'. 

I know that, you know that.

But... GA directed a lawyer friend to the article, to see if it was the grenade at the hospital's corporate owner that I thought it was.  In short: Yep.

My lawyer friend was positively incredulous that Hoboken411 published that.   In his view, "the hospital's owner has to respond" with some kind of legal action.

Further, the way piece was written, and the unsourced material presented as fact... well, unless the hospital chooses to ignore this, he's in BIG trouble.

Is it mean to hope he is?

Stay tuned.


  1. Yes, this is a classic case of the misuse of statistical information (even setting aside that it is unsourced). The intent is to confuse and anger, but the underlying kernel is that JCMC has about twice the number of patients as BMC and therefore one might expect the number of patient deaths to run in proportion. In turn that the number at BMC is more than half of that at JCMC is imputed to be conclusive that the medical care given at BMC is substandard.

    The problem goes beyond the misuse of scale between the two graphs.

    The chart provided, assuming the information in it is accurate, does demonstrate that the rate of patient deaths at BMC (about 0.74%) is a good deal higher than that at JCMC (about 0.39%), but the presumption that the patient base is similar is not supported in any way. I also note two things from the chart:

    1. There is missing information. Not all the patients admitted are accounted for. Look at BMC for 2010. There were 37,333 admissions. Of those, 24,958 were discharged to home/self-care; 1,364 were discharged to a skilled nursing facility; 13 to ICF (don't know what that is); 6 to "other"; and 278 passed away. Let's see, that makes 26,619 accounted for. I guess the other 10,714 must be on Mars. None of the other hospital numbers add up, either, so one or more categories has presumably gone missing. (I suggest looking on Mars first. Warning: The commute is hell.)

    2. I notice that the percentage of patients at BMC discharged to nursing homes is also much higher than that at the other hospitals listed. To me, this is suggestive that there is some material difference about that hospital in terms of its patient base.

    There could be any number of reasons the death rate is higher at BMC - which is not to say that the higher rate should be ignored or is not of concern. One explanation that occurs to me is that possibly JCMC is faster to discharge patients, who then return. Each admission of that patient is counted separately. Statistics as to the turnover rate as related to the number of beds in the hospital would be instructive in this regard.

    I realize my analysis gives more dignity to the 411 posting than it deserves, but it is instructive as to the power of numbers in the wrong hands. I would show this to my 6-year-old, who I by chance gave his first statistics lesson last night in the context of coin-flipping, but obviously the material is a little too gruesome...


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