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Anorak | Google’s Tameside Hospital web search page censors an image of the Grim Reaper

Google’s Tameside Hospital web search page censors an image of the Grim Reaper

by | 28th, June 2013

blogging, censorship, google, tameside hospital, grim reaper

A SEARCH for Manchester’s Tameside General Hospital on Google delivers a picture of The Grim Reaper lurking outside the building.

The image was created for the website Tameside Citizen, a blog about the area which has focused on the hospital’s death rates. The accompanying story tells readers:

Tameside is one of five hospitals to be subject to a probe in light of today’s Francis Report – which found that there were hundreds of avoidable deaths at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust between 2005-9.

Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director at the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) will launch an immediate investigation into Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – as well as Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – immediately.

The hospitals were chosen because they had the worst mortality rates according to the so-called Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) for two successive years to 2012. 

This ends with a link the a full story at the Manchester Evening News. All fair and proper, then. It’s a worthwhile story:

Between October 2011 and September 2012, 18 per cent more patients at Tameside died than would be expected at a similar hospital, according to statistics.

But no. The MEN says the image rose to the top on Google’s  for searches for the hospital. It does not name the blog that published it. It offers no link to it. It reports:

Google has now stepped in to take down the image – which was revealed to anyone typing the name of the hospital into the search engine – after being alerted by the M.E.N

A Google spokeswoman admitted the automatically-generated image had been ‘inappropriate’ and confirmed it had now been removed from its image database.

Why admitted? Is it a crime?  And who decides what is and what is not appropriate? The  Google worker, whose name is not given, says to the MEN:

“In this particular case, we have now updated the panel with a more appropriate image. All of our panels include a link so you can tell us when we may have an inaccuracy in our information.”

So. The natural search on Google – all those keywords and links – is a fix.

Tameside Citizen follows up:

M.E.N. attempt to censor Tameside Citizen.

The Image “THEY” want to ban!

The Manchester Evening News has claimed that they have succeeded in having the above image removed by Google after it was used by “a BlogSpot”.

“A Blog Spot”. Don’t they mean TAMESIDE CITIZEN, the blog that brought you the news that “The Advertiser” had meetings with local politicians with a view to “Suppressing sensationalist reporting” The same Advertiser which is owned by the Manchester Evening News!

Yet again it is the small independent Blog which shows the big business newspaper the meaning of the phrase “Free Press”

What’s so bad about the image? A fee commentators write back:

* The hoody pictured near the hospital does not look well.

* I have an interest in this issue. My father died in Tameside Hospital last year. My mother died six months ago in Willow wood hospice, 4 days after transfer from Tameside Hospital. The patients were clearly not getting the best treatment they deserved. The staff were giving the best they could. The big problem I could see was that there were not enough nursing staff. Even the best most dedicated nurse can not be at two bedsides at the same time.

* My own mother died in TH and there was one nurse running the ward. She told me she also served the patients meals as well.

Not exactly a death cult, is it? But because Google and the MEN don’t like the image or the messenger, they want to make it harder for readers to find the story. Local news is vital. It’s where the big stories start. You’d think the MEN and Google, which takes you content for free, would know that…

Spotter: Karen



Posted: 28th, June 2013 | In: Reviews, Technology Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink