CNN defends reporting of Mayo Clinic patient escape story

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

CNN published a statement Aug. 17 standing by its previous reporting about a then-18-year-old patient who "escaped" Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic in 2017 after caregivers allegedly refused to let her leave.

The statement is a direct response to criticisms issued by the Mayo Clinic Aug. 16 commenting on CNN's "inaccurate, incomplete and irresponsible" story regarding the alleged treatment of Alyssa Gilderhus, now 20.

According to CNN, the Mayo Clinic "refuses to acknowledge that the patient in this story, Alyssa Gilderhus, an adult, asked to be transferred. … Mayo claims that it had no idea Alyssa wanted to leave Mayo, even though there's written proof that she did, and Mayo had access to those writings."

The publication also contends Mayo Clinic "completely misrepresents the nature of a meeting held between CNN staffers and Mayo staffers in March," and that the health system refuses to acknowledge that Ms. Gilderhus did not need to remain hospitalized like Mayo claimed. Roughly two years after suffering a brain aneurysm that landed her in the hospital, Ms. Gilderhus told CNN she is flourishing and no longer needs rehabilitation.

Here are six responses CNN made to the Mayo Clinic's criticisms:

Mayo Clinic released a statement Aug. 17 in response to CNN's comments, saying "a prolonged public debate is not in the best interest of the patient or our staff." 

"At the heart of this matter is a vulnerable patient," Charles Harper, MD, executive dean for practice at Mayo Clinic, said in the statement. "Mayo Clinic firmly stands behind our statements regarding care of this patient and our interactions with CNN. Our thorough, internal review determined that the care team's actions, in addition to being lifesaving, were true to Mayo's primary value and we fully support the actions of our staff."

To view Mayo Clinic's full statement and reiteration of key facts, click here.

 To access the full CNN report, click here.

Editor's note: This article was updated Aug. 21 to include additional information from Mayo Clinic.

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