Following reports that Dr. Sanjay Gupta misreported who he performed brain surgery on in Nepal and subsequently had an online report changed to reflect his version of the story, the editor-in-chief of CNN Digital Meredith Artley spoke to Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, calling the situation “absolutely regrettable.”
In a statement, CNN expressed its unequivocal support of Gupta: “Journalism is not brain surgery. But brain surgery is brain surgery. We are so proud that Sanjay was one of the few reporters in Nepal to cover the earthquake, and while there, was asked to help save a young victim’s life. As we reported, he assisted the surgeons at Bir Hospital by performing a craniotomy on a young victim. Some reporting has suggested it was not the young girl we, at the time of our own reporting in the midst of the crisis, believed her to be. We will try to verify that. Regardless, Sanjay spent a week in Nepal, helped save a young life in the operating room, and we couldn’t be prouder of him. He has our full and unequivocal support.”
Referring to the difference in stories between Gupta and Hume, Artley said, “We had people on the ground doing this crazy reporting, working together, but ended up filing conflicting stories.” Though they ended up revising the story to support Gupta’s version of events.
Artley said to Wemple: “It is absolutely regrettable that we are now in this position that we might have corrected something that didn’t need to be corrected, and we didn’t have the correction for as long as we should have had it up. But all that said, it’s a quake zone with triage happening and it’s really fast-moving and really chaotic and Sanjay may have performed surgery that saved someone’s life.”
An editor’s note has been appended to the online story:
(CNN) Editor’s Note (July 8, 2015) — 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.