September 4, 2013Margaret HoltStandards EditorChicago Tribune435 N. Michigan Ave.Chicago, IL 60611Ms. Holt:I read with interest my friend Peter Heimlich'sAugust 28, 2013 e-mail to youwhich includes thisquote attributed to you from a 2003 article,Focus On Accuracy:
Editors and reporters "need to know that you value accuracy, that you care about it and that you're going toact on it."...And don't forget to correct archived stories because there is no "statute of limitations" on errors. A mistakein a previous story is likely to show up again unless it's corrected.
I've known of Carol Spizzirri and her work for more than a decade. But Spizzirri, the tireless founder of theSchiller Park-based Save A Life Foundation, or SALF, doesn't bother nagging adults...."These emergencies happen everywhere," said Spizzirri, a former nurse....
I was married to Carol Spizzirri from 1968-1981, when we divorced. Since 1993, I have repeatedly contactedelected officials in Illinois and elsewhere in an attempt to bring to light misrepresentations made by the SaveA Life Foundation.
of January 16, 1995, ran a story of a mother, Carol Spizzirri, lamenting the death in anauto accident of her 18-year-old daughter, Christina, in 1992. “This is my girl,” whispered Spizzirri at her daughter’s grave, said the newspaper. “I can still feel her hand. And I see her everywhere. Her hair at thegrocery store. Her smile.”In 1993, Spizzirri had gone on to found the Save-A-Life Foundation, for teaching first aid to students. Shewas greatly responsible for a 1995 law requiring Illinois police officers and firefighters to be trained in firstaid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. By this time, Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats,although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting. Save-A-Life beganraking in money from government grants.But few, if any, seemed to have noticed that less than a month after that 1995
story appeared, thenewspaper had retracted key points. In the first story, the writer had said, “The first police officers on thescene balked at administering aid. By the time the paramedics arrived, Christina had bled to death on thehighway.”On February 7, 1995, the
stated that Christina had “died in a hospital more than an hour after theaccident,” not on the highway. The story had suggested that Christina died from bleeding from a severed arm.But the
had to admit she had died of multiple traumatic injuries, including a depressed skull. The police officers who came to the scene had not “balked” at administering first aid, but they were not trained inthe practice. “It is unlikely that basic first aid would have saved her,” said the embarrassed