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Insult To Injury

Florida trauma centers charge outrageous fees the moment you come through the door:

Before any X-ray was taken, any blood collected, any medicine delivered to his broken body, crash victim Eric Leonhard was charged $32,767 just to pass through the doors of a Fort Pierce trauma center. The bill was not for the surgery Leonhard needed to piece together his shattered pelvis. In fact, after exactly 40 minutes, doctors decided to transfer him because they didn't have the right specialist for the job. So they loaded Leonhard onto a helicopter and sent him to another hospital on Florida's east coast. Lawnwood Regional Medical Center still charged Leonhard, an uninsured tour boat captain, nearly $1,000 for every minute he spent with the medical team that couldn't fix him.

PUBLISHED: March 7, 2014
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3500 words)

Reading List: If Christmas Were Forever

This week's picks from Emily include stories from Buzzfeed, Tampa Bay Times, The New Republic, and Salon.
PUBLISHED: Dec. 29, 2013

Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our story picks of the week, featuring The New Yorker, Tampa Bay Times, Planet Money, Rookie and Indianapolis Monthly, with a guest pick by Chris Mahr.
PUBLISHED: Dec. 6, 2013

Gretchen Molannen's Legacy: Suffering, Suicide And A Journalist's Responsibility

A reporter grapples with the suicide of a source:

The reporter-source relationship is a complicated one that defies easy description. It borrows a little from the salesman-buyer relationship, the therapist-patient relationship, the police officer-witness relationship, sometimes even the growing intimacy of a friendship. We work hard to gain access and trust, and generally we avoid doing anything that stops a source from talking once she gets started.

"How are you now?" I asked at the time.

"I'm suffering horribly . . . but I'm not suicidal," she said. "It's a soothing thing. I don't really want to do it. But it helps me calm down, it helps me sleep to think about the possibilities to end the suffering."

If I had possessed some sort of device that could peer inside her brain and pick up some biological trace amongst the billions of nerve cells and circuits that would indicate she was likely to commit suicide, would I have stopped the interview?

PUBLISHED: Nov. 27, 2013
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5430 words)

Reading List: One in Seven Billion

Picks from Emily Perper, a freelance editor and reporter who blogs about her favorite longreads at Diet Coker. This week's picks include stories from the The Tampa Bay Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Andrew Yellis, and Vela Magazine.
PUBLISHED: July 28, 2013

Reading List: A Bizarre Institution

Picks from Emily Perper, a freelance editor and reporter currently completing a service year in Baltimore with the Episcopal Service Corps. This week's picks include stories from the The Rumpus, Tampa Bay Times, Benjamin Carlson, and The New York Times.
PUBLISHED: July 21, 2013

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our picks this week include The Washington Post, American Prospect, ESPN, Tampa Bay Times, Wired, and a guest pick by Todd Olmstead.
PUBLISHED: June 14, 2013

Dirty Secrets of the Worst Charities

Reporters from the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting spent a year scrutinizing 5,800 charities nationwide that pay for-profit telemarketing companies to solicit donations on their behalf. As much as 90 cents for every dollar of those donations go directly to pay for the for-profit companies that are "dialing for dollars":

Part One: Dirty Secrets of the Worst Charities

Part Two: A Failure of Regulation

Part Three: The Reynolds Family Empire
PUBLISHED: June 10, 2013
LENGTH: 44 minutes (11185 words)

Wracked With Cancer, St. Petersburg Senior Has One Goal: Graduation

A teenager with cancer is fighting to make it to her high school graduation:

"At the end of her junior year, the doctors said there was nothing more they could do for Lyndsey. 'Six months to a year,' they told her. She might not even be alive for her family to break the no-applause rule.

"But the principal, Dan Evans, just told her, 'Okay.' They'd get her to June 5 at Tropicana Field.

"And so began a much quieter race to graduation, one that has not announced itself by shrieking in the hallways or picnicking on the campus lawn, but with all of that urgency and more."
PUBLISHED: May 17, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2989 words)