Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Arizona: One public relations mistake after another
Accident victims switched
Arizona again most popular story on 'net

Arizona's proclivity for making national news has raised its head again. If it isn't an immigration bill, it is a hospital mixing up accident victim identities. Then blaming the family instead of taking responsibility.

St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix, owned or managed by Catholic Healthcare (no such word) West (CHW), has a gender bias in its public relations program. No male has worked in the department for two decades. The way this case has been handled shows what happens to a company or business that ignores diversity.

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Instead of apologizing, the head of the hospital, Suzanne Pfister, blamed the mix-up on the family. What sort of voodoo public relations is this? Did this CEO not consult with her public relations or marketing staff? Did she disregard them and their importance to the organization? Did she view the PR staff so incompetent she did not reach out for advice? Was the staff's advice to blame it on the next-of-kin? I doubt it.


Here's how PR should have been handled. Apologize. All medical costs for all involved absorbed by CHW. Shake up in the hospital. A new, competent CEO, much like BP just did. A pledge to diversify the company's marketing department. Giving the two families a million dollars each. As Donald Trump says, it's not personal, it's business.
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Addendum: Even worse:
PHOENIX (AP) ― A hospital spokeswoman says officials were working off the information provided by families in the case of two young woman misidentified in a fatal Arizona car accident. A spokeswoman for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix said Monday that the surviving patient was …

2 comments:

  1. Suzanne Pfister is not the CEO, she is an executive leader for the hospital in Business Development and Public Relations. Linda Hunt is the CEO and you can easily find that out if you visited the hospital's main website.

    Being in PR myself I'm surprised you didn't double check your information before publishing to your blog. Besides that, what does it matter if there are no males in the very small PR/Marketing department - this field is a woman-dominated profession: (http://www.prismjournal.org/fileadmin/Praxis/Files/Journal_Files/Issue3/smith.pdf)

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  2. Thank you, Anonymous. I stand corrected on the CEO. This only makes it worse. You don't put your CEO out there? Even BP, which had horrific PR, did that!

    You also amplified the lack of diversity at CHW St. Joseph's executive staff.

    You said, "what does it matter there are no males?" Guess it doesn't matter that there are no people of color, no people of different sexual preference. It is so much better when EVERYONE looks the same and attends the SAME church, etc. Phoenix Country Club was sued for its lack of diversity and lost.

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