Samaritan member responds to negative New York Times article about health care sharing

Samaritan staff  ·  Jan 09, 2020

Below is an email that Samaritan Ministries member Mark Collie sent to New York Times reporter Reed Abelson on January 3, one day after her story on health care sharing was printed on page 1. The story covered the Collie family’s experience after Blake Collie, their 8-year-old son, was treated for a brain bleed.

Samaritan Ministries and the Collies believe that the reporter misrepresented both the family and the ministry.

Hi, Reed,

Congrats on what seems to have been a very popular article. I’m only sorry that you earned that popularity at our cost. 

Imagine your closest, most loved family member or friend suddenly getting hit by a bus and ending up on life support in ICU. Imagine the reality of the doctors telling you that your loved-one had a high probability of not making it. That was our reality on Sept 1. 2019.

Yet, we chose to hope. And along with a superb medical team, community, wonderful friends and family we are overjoyed to have a son who is alive and a joy to our family.

We also chose to hope when you contacted us, Reed. We hoped that this might be an opportunity for people to see the goodness and beauty that has come out of a very hard place. Unfortunately, you had a political statement to make and you used our story and our family to make that statement. 

I expressly asked that should our likeness be used in your article that it be made clear that we have had nothing but exemplary service from Samaritan. You did not honor that request.

We continue to hope, Reed. That even from this article that has caused hurt to our family (and others) and further polarity on the issues being addressed that good will come. We continue to hope that instead of becoming a more polarized nation we can start moving towards each other and engaging in meaningful and respectful conversations about these issues. 

We hope that you will think about this and we hope that you will approach your next article differently.

All the best,


Reed Abelson confirmed receipt of Mark’s email but has not updated her article.