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Ham-Handed Headlines Hardly Helpful

By Matt Wood in News on Oct 16, 2006 11:23AM

Far be it from Chicagoist to lecture anyone on discretion. We've made fun of Amish people in car accidents, popularized the term "cockpunch," and had an internal discussion last week as to whether or not it's acceptable to use the word "dipshit" in a headline. But we don't think we're going too far out on a limb by saying that the press shouldn't give a nickname to the dentist whose patient died under sedation last month, let alone one that includes the little girl's name. But there it is in a CBS 2 headline this morning: "Diamond Dentist Goes to Hearing About License."

chicagoist_2006_09_tooth.gifDr. Hicham Riba has been fighting the state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulations to get his dental license back after Diamond Brownridge died at his office on September 23. We'd been holding back on saying anything more about this tragedy as it still depresses us to no end, and we didn't want to seem like we were piling on the poor guy. We expected him to close up shop, keep quiet for a few months, and maybe try to discreetly open up a new practice somewhere else. But he isn't making the situation any better for himself. It turns out that his dental assistant left to monitor Brownridge that day didn't have any formal training in monitoring patients under sedation, calling a blood pressure monitor, "a fingertip thingy" and unable to identify a stethoscope at the hearing on Friday. If that's the type of staff Dr. Riba plans to keep on call at his practice, something tells us he won't be getting back his license thingy at all now.

As for that headline, we know that for print publications it's all about catchiness and word economy. But c'mon CBS, you guys are a TV station putting stories online. Wouldn't "Embattled Dentist" go down easier, without the distasteful alliteration?