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Mecklenburg County's Embattled Health Dept. Works To Regain Trust / New York Times Obituary Writer

Dr. Marcus Plescia at a February, 2017 press conference.
Lisa Worf

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A closer look at the ongoing controversy about quality care - or the lack of it at the Mecklenburg County Health Department and we meet the New York Times obituary writer featured in the film Obit.

Part One: Update on Mecklenburg County's Embattled Health Department

The Mecklenburg County health department has been under scrutiny since it was revealed in February that the agency failed to notify nearly 200 women about abnormal Pap smear results in a timely manner. 

Since then, Health Department Director Marcus Plescia, who has resigned effective August 4, maintained that despite that lapse, patients were receiving quality care at the department's public clinics.

However, emails recently obtained by the Charlotte Observersuggest that was not necessarily the case. An internal review by an agency nurse found widespread problems. "Patient care has been poor at best, and at worst, patients’ health and safety has been at risk" the nurse wrote in an email to supervisors.

Meanwhile, the department also came under fire for failing to inspectwater quality at some public swimming pools that had previously been issued safety violations.

Now the health department must work to regain the public's trust. We'll talk with a reporter who has been following the story from the beginning and county commissioners about how far the problems go and where the department goes from here.


Fred Clasen-Kelly - Reporter for The Charlotte Observer

Jim Puckett - Vice Chairman, Mecklenburg County Commission, District 1 Commissioner

Dumont Clarke - Mecklenburg County Commissioner, District 4

Part Two: New York Times Obituary Writer Featured in Obit, a Documentary Headed to Charlotte

Margalit Fox, Senior Writer, Obituary News Department, The New York Times. Fox is featured in the new documentary 'Obit' which is being screen in Charlotte this week.

Margalit Fox has written more than 1,200 obituaries for the New York Times. Her job is to highlight the lives of the famous, the interesting, the important -- after they’ve died.

She’s featured in a new documentary called Obit. The movie follows Fox and other obituary writers as they tell the stories of the lives of athletes, celebrities, politicians and lesser known people who have left their mark on American culture.

Margalit Fox will be in town this week for a special screening of Obit by the Charlotte Film Society, but before that, she joins Mike Collins to talk about her craft and the documentary.


Margalit Fox, Senior Writer, Obituary News Department, The New York Times.

Event info:
On Friday, July 7 at Wells Fargo Auditorium, the Charlotte Film Society is screening Obit - a new documentary featuring obituary writers and journalists at the New York Times. One of the featured writers in the documentary is Margalit Fox, who will be coming to Charlotte for the screening. The screening is Friday, July 7, 7:30pm at Wells Fargo Auditorium at the Knight Theater, 430 S Tryon Street. Details.

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.