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Dealing with Death: Fatality Communications

There is nothing worse than a company crisis involving fatalities. I know; I have managed or otherwise been involved in a number of crises over the years in which people died. And worst of all, crises involving the death of children are the most heart-wrenching.

Suddenly, it becomes very personal, especially if the fatalities occurred as a result of your product. During the infamous Tylenol poisonings, I recall being told by crisis management team member Dave Collins, at the time the vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s executive committee, as well as the chairman of McNeil Consumer Products Company, the J&J subsidiary that actually manufactured the capsules, how scared he was. He reflected emotionally ...

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