A great lesson in how not to report about heart attacks in the general media, from Gary Schwitzer, health journalism watchdog:
Journalists: don’t use the term “massive” heart attack if you don’t know what you’re talking about
… Very quickly, the term “massive heart attack” started going viral among Minnesota news organizations and on Twitter and Facebook.
Two and a half hours later, Rybak was tweeting from the hospital: “My cardiac surprise/Gave me quite a start/But it proves this politician/Has a great big heart.”
“His former spokesman, John Stiles, described the heart attack as “serious,’’ but said Rybak will be released in several days.”
“Massive heart attack” is a vague, frightening, dangerous term to be throwing around in the absence of evidence. I know how I reacted when I read the news yesterday; many other readers’ comments showed that they thought Rybak was dead or dying imminently.