News Release

KFF Health News and CBS News Win 2023 George Polk Award for Medical Reporting

KFF Health News won the 2023 George Polk Award for Medical Journalism for its year-long investigation with CBS News into the failure of FDA-approved medical devices that were suspected of contributing to thousands of injuries and patient deaths.

The George Polk Awards were established in 1949 by Long Island University to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek Civil War. The awards place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results.

The investigation, “When Medical Devices Malfunction,“ brought to light deep flaws in FDA oversight of a series of devices, including:

  • Artificial knee implants that wore out prematurely;
  • Metal hip implants that snapped in two and led to urgent surgeries;
  • Last-resort heart pumps that may have caused or contributed to thousands of patient deaths;
  • Insulin pumps that are blamed for contributing to at least a dozen patient deaths; and,
  • A dental device that lawsuits alleged caused catastrophic harm to teeth and jawbones.

“This investigation revealed the deeply significant, and sometimes deadly, impact of flawed devices and oversight, and is part of our continuing work across KFF to show how people are affected by health policy,” said Dr. Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer, KFF.

“When Medical Devices Malfunction“ was reported by Fred Schulte, an investigative reporter at KFF Health News, Holly K. Hacker, the data editor at KFF Health News, Daniel Chang, the Florida correspondent at KFF Health News, Brett Kelman, a correspondent at KFF Health News, Anna Werner, the national consumer investigative correspondent at CBS News, and Nicole Keller, consumer investigative producer at CBS. It is Schulte’s and Werner’s second Polk award.

About KFF Health News’ Partnership with CBS News

The reporting in “When Medical Devices Malfunction“ was done in partnership with CBS News to investigate the safety of devices suspected of causing patient harm and explore the FDA’s process for assuring patient safety. Reporters from KFF Health News and CBS reviewed FDA data and court records and conducted many interviews with patients, device manufactures, FDA officials, consumer advocates, and others.

The investigation stems from a broader editorial partnership between CBS News and KFF Health News. The editorial partnership also features regular appearances by Dr. Céline Gounder, KFF Health News’ senior fellow and editor-at-large for public health, on CBS News, the popular “Bill of the Month” series, in which KFF Health News editor-in-chief Elisabeth Rosenthal appears regularly on “CBS Mornings” to discuss surprising medical bills, and the KFF Health News “Health Minute,” a weekly feature for CBS News Radio stations that helps millions of listeners understand how developments in health care delivery and policy affect them.

About KFF and KFF Health News

KFF is the independent source for health policy research, polling, and journalism. Our mission is to serve as a nonpartisan source of information for policymakers, the media, the health policy community, and the public. KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth and award-winning journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs at KFF. Other major KFF programs include Policy Analysis; KFF Polling and Survey Research; and KFF Social Impact Media, which conducts specialized public health information campaigns. A new program on Health Misinformation and Trust is under development.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.