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L.A. County's Top Public Health Official Avoids Important Questions

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Why won't Dr. Jonathan Fielding answer basic questions about H1N1? Reporters at USC's journalism project, Neon Tommy, have done a fantastic job investigating the epidemic disease. Fielding apparently declined to go on KCRW's Which Way, L.A.? Tuesday night to engage in a conversation with Neon's Callie Schweitzer (however, he did speak with host Warren Olney), who in turn published an open letter to Fielding.

"I wanted to ask you some of the remaining questions my colleagues and I have about L.A. County's response to the H1N1 epidemic," she wrote. "What is the process for hospitals and physicians reporting swine flu deaths? What exactly are the 2,000 health department workers devoted to the influenza epidemic doing? What's the process for fixing death certificates so that they accurately list H1N1 after post-death tests, which can take up to eight weeks?"

Is Fielding willing to be transparent on the issue? One would hope so, otherwise, he's likely to have a public which has lost faith in him, his office and the county's Board of Supervisors. In the end, that only hurts the people he's there to protect.