Last night on KCRW's Which Way, L.A.?, Warren Olney noted that Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, declined to take questions directly from the other guest on the show, Neon Tommy reporter Callie Schweitzer. Neon Tommy has been chasing Fielding to get him to answer some questions about the county's handling of H1N1 flu, and especially its decision to stop releasing death certificates to the USC-owned news website. Now Neon Tommy is running an open letter to Fielding. Snippet:
Dear Dr. Fielding...For the past month, I've been trying to get an interview with you - L.A. County's top health official - for the main story in a blow-out multimedia project about swine flu that we produced last week at Neon Tommy.
I wanted to ask you some of the remaining questions my colleagues and I have about L.A. County's response to the H1N1 epidemic: What is the process for hospitals and physicians reporting swine flu deaths? What exactly are the 2,000 health department workers devoted to the influenza epidemic doing? What's the process for fixing death certificates so that they accurately list H1N1 after post-death tests, which can take up to eight weeks?
The next phase of this story will benefit tremendously from an open and honest conversation.
Please contact me as soon as possible, and we'll set up a meeting this week.
Also at Neon Tommy: A long and entertaining exploration of longtime MTA and City Hall gadfly John Walsh.