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Crisis Case Study 3

Client: Northeastern 200-bed hospital

Business challenge
Address the damage to the hospital’s business engendered by news coverage of the hospital’s radiation oncology mishap that caused the death of more than 30 patients.

Convince the public that the hospital, especially radiation oncology, was a “safe” place to get well.

Objective
Rebuild a seriously damaged reputation. Restore employee morale. Reassure donors that the hospital was a worthy cause. Convince physicians that their patients were safe. Convince the state regulators that the hospital had addressed its problems and was overcoming them.

Planning process
Assessed the situation – a radiation oncologist had misread the machine settings, overdosing and probably killing more than 30 patients.

Assisted in strategy development – Tell the truth and all the truth to everyone. Apologize. Fix the problem permanently and let everyone know that it is fixed. Apologize again.

Shaped situation-specific messages and their compelling proofs – We have fixed the problem.

Matched messages to audiences

Recommendation/implementation
Trained a spokesperson to face the firestorm.

Assisted in the organization and conduct of both internal and external communications.

Re-assessed, re-tooled as necessary.

Results/outcome
The organization did as well as could be expected in such a difficult situation.

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