St. Vincent Medical Center Files Lost

St. Vincent Medical Center Files Lost

Crisis Communications



Patient files were found in the dumpster of the Multi Organ Transplant Center, one of St. Vincent’s buildings leased for clinical work. Two of St. Vincent’s surgeons were held responsible for the situation. The files normally would have been shredded, and a disgruntled employee was suspect.


Union issues may have been a part of the problem, as well as financial problems and a recent management change. The hospital and its employees were very vulnerable at the time, and could have suffered considerably from the bad publicity.



In order to evaluate the crisis, MGA advised St. Vincent’s to stand by their employees in a supporting role. Under MGA guidance, St. Vincent’s voiced its extreme concern and deep regret to affected families and media. The hospital stated it was conducting an internal investigation, along with developing new protocols for the handling of private patient files.



Although St. Vincent’s received some negative publicity initially; MGA’s advice resulted in a forum of openness and truth. Union issues were not included as “scapegoats” for the file-handling problem. Unflattering media coverage was quelled.


The Truth About Amalgam – VNR A Case Study (October, 2001)