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Deaths At Coalinga State Hospital: How We Conducted Our Investigation

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Last year, 30 patients died at Coalinga State Hospital, a psychiatric facility in western Fresno County. That's more than 2 percent of the population--a death rate that's almost twice the average of California’s entire state hospital system, and almost seven times higher than the rate within the state prison system. 

Recently, we investigated why, and whether any of those deaths could have been prevented.

In this interview, reporter Kerry Klein pulls back the curtain on how she investigated this story, including the data, documents, and patients she relied on to tell it, as well as how she approached sources who preferred to remain off the record.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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