CANHR mourns the loss of Ed Pope, who died in San Jose on October 3, 2010. Ed was a reporter and editor for the San Jose Mercury News for many years until he retired in 2001.
In 1986, Ed, along with fellow journalists Fran Smith and Bill Romano, produced a scathing series of article on California’s nursing homes. CANHR was in its infancy, and Ed attended Family Support meetings, talked to residents, their families, state bureaucrats and legislators. Called “No Place to Die: California’s Nursing Home,” the four part series detailed the failure of the oversight and regulatory system to protect California’s nursing home residents, highlighted the lives and deaths of 126 nursing home residents who died as a result of neglect and abuse, and for the first time, focused on nursing home residents as humans – not statistics. The series led to numerous oversight hearings at the state level and, ultimately, to a number of new laws to protect nursing home residents in California. If legislators saw Ed at a meeting, they took notice. The series won Ed a citation from the National Press Club for the best consumer journalism.
Ed stayed a consumer advocate to the end and produced a number of investigative stories on health care, the disabled and nursing homes in the following years. In 2002, CANHR presented Ed with its “Advocacy in Media’ award. As fearless as he was as a reporter, Ed was an extraordinarily kind and thoughtful person and devoted to his family. He leaves a legacy in them and in those of us who had the honor to know him. The world is indeed a better place because of Ed Pope. We will miss him.