Will Savini's next bed check send us to the hospital?

January 27, 2010

The man who made Chicago television viewers sick by revealing "splotches of semen, vaginal fluid and blood" on hotel bedspreads soon could be shining his undercover ultraviolet light over hospital linens.

Dave Savini
Dave Savini

Evoking memories of his infamous "Hidden Hotel Horrors" sweeps piece, Dave Savini, the crack investigative reporter for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, is soliciting tips from viewers about dirty hospitals. On his Facebook page Monday, he wrote:

"on to my next projects --  if you have a tip about dirty hospitals or hospital beds and hospital bathrooms send them my way.. a new big undercover investigation is on the way soon..."

Savini will forever be remembered for the 3‚½-minute report he delivered on Nov. 4, 1996, when he was a member of the Unit 5 investigative team at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. "Unit 5 found hotels don't change the blankets and bedspreads after every guest," he told viewers. To prove the point, he showed an unidentified forensic scientist, dressed in a blue lab coat and rubber gloves, passing an ultraviolet light over the bedding in three Chicago area hotel rooms. Evidence of bodily secretions and fluids were everywhere.

It was all so gross and disturbing that Savini's own name became a verb coined by Tribune columnist and uberblogger Eric Zorn to describe the act of removing suspect hotel bedding. A full decade after "Hidden Hotel Horrors" aired, Zorn wrote:

"The report -- like many other similar exposes before and since -- noted that infectious disease experts say it's unlikely this sort of residual yuck could make anyone sick. But still, in part because we couldn't get those sploogy images out of our minds, we began to "Ëœsavini' -- to remove bedspreads and throw them in the corner -- immediately upon entering a hotel or motel room."
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