Wrongful death lawsuits, Legionnaires’ outbreak damage Mount Carmel brand, experts say

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Experts in crisis management say the damage to the Mount Carmel brand is significant but not beyond repair.

Deborah Mitchell, who teaches marketing at Ohio State Fisher College of Business says there are plenty of examples of company brands surviving extraordinary damage. 

“There are no quick fixes for a brand in this kind of situation, Mitchell said. “It’s also going to take commitment over time even when things get tough.”

Experts say there are three key pieces to weathering a brand crisis: Admitting you’ve done something wrong or, at least, that something bad has happened, demonstrate sincere contrition, and show a plan of remedial action that people can believe in.

“You have to be unwavering and adhering to your strategy and to really implementing that model,” Mitchell said.

Mount Carmel has been pummeled with negative news since mid-January when the hospital acknowledged that Dr. William Husel had ordered excessive doses of fentanyl for patients in intensive care. 

Last week, Husel was charged with 25 counts of murder.

In recent weeks, 16 cases of Legionnaires disease have been identified in patients, visitors and employees of the brand new Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital.

Mitchell says news of the Legionnaires cases punctures what would have been Mount Carmel’s firewall separating the bad news from the good.

“The narrative before that was everything is different at the new hospital – so all the bad stuff, anything that was bad before, that was then and this is now,” Mitchell said.

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