COMMUNITY HOSPITAL – MERS
Helping an Indiana hospital with a crisis ‘get it right.’
On the morning of May 2, 2014, we received a call from Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, where they faced an international crisis — the first diagnosed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the United States. The hospital was preparing for a media briefing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in just five hours, when their identity would become public to media outlets around the world.
Our crisis team sprang into action, creating media and employee messaging, distributing statements to thousands of media contacts, providing media coaching, and coordinating interviews with hospital administrators. We also helped plan the hospital’s news conference on May 5, which included Governor Pence and representatives from the CDC, the Indiana State Department of Health, and Community Hospital.
Coverage of the hospital’s response to the MERS case was overwhelmingly positive. The case received more than 2,300 media hits totaling 1 billion media impressions from major news outlets including The Washington Post, which ran the headline, “How an Indiana hospital got it right when MERS showed up at the door.”