How Mayo Clinic responded directly to a damaging news report

The nationally known medical center countered CNN’s reporting—first internally with staff listening sessions and then externally with strongly worded statements and a video interview.

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No organization is immune from crises.

A CNN report on Aug. 13 titled “Escape from Mayo Clinic” alleged that Mayo Clinic had held a patient against her will and refused her request to transfer to another hospital, an assertion that officials of the health care facility have strongly disputed.

The crisis unfolded over 18 months, from the time Mayo Clinic learned about the pending report—while the patient was still in the hospital—to Aug. 13 of this year, when CNN broke the story.

Karl Oestreich, Mayo Clinic’s director of media relations, cites the strong internal and external responses that the organization undertook to counter what it called the reporter’s “pre-determined narrative” about the situation.

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