Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 06764-15 Wise v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      10th December 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 06764-15 Wise v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Lee Wise complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Faulty pacemakers ‘killing 2,000 a year’”, published on 10 August 2015.

2. The article stated that a recent study suggested that “a third of unexpected deaths among heart patients with pacemakers and similar devices could be caused by malfunctions”. It reported that the study looked at 517 patients who suffered a sudden death, and found that in 30 per cent of cases, death was caused by mechanical flaws in patients’ devices.

3. The complainant said that the article inaccurately reported the findings of the study; only 22 out of the 517 patients in the study had a pacemaker or similar device fitted. Of these 22 patients, less than a third died as a direct result of a hardware failure.

4. The newspaper accepted that only 22 of the patients who suffered a sudden death had a pacemaker or similar device fitted. It accepted that this aspect of the article was inaccurate, and offered to publish a clarification in print and online on this point. The complainant did not consider that this offer was sufficient.

Relevant Code Provisions

5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Mediated outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. After further correspondence, the newspaper offered to publish the following correction online and in print on page 2 in its Clarifications & Corrections column:

In common with other newspapers, we reported on August 10 a study by US scientists into the possible malfunction of pacemakers and similar devices. We are happy to clarify that, of the 517 patients studied, only 22 had been fitted with a pacemaker or similar device, and that according to the study, only three hardware failures contributing directly to death were identified.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 21/10/2015
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 10/12/2015