Gagged 3

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

AFTER vehement denials from the hospital that they do NOT use pacifiers and they do NOT gag newborn babies with surgical tape, they now miraculously remember that they actually DO practice this controversial procedure, but ONLY upon doctors’ orders.

Could the selective memory of hospital staff and administrators have been triggered by the fact that families of other newborn babies have now come forward to say that they have also seen their own babies in the same hospital in such a predicament?

Rather belatedly, the hospital now admits that pacifiers are being used for sick and premature babies and that surgical tape is actually used to “anchor” the pacifier. Let’s not hide behind semantics. And let’s not forget the hospital’s vehement denials preceding this admission. Bad faith has already been entered into evidence.


Why don’t we hear from the specific doctors who actually gave such gagging orders? Please educate us so we can calibrate our outrage. I don’t know the science behind pacifiers but I have never been comfortable with them being used to shut babies up. Still, there is no justification for TAPING a pacifier into a baby’s mouth.

For me, gagging is only done by criminals to people and by butchers to animals. And in both cases, the intention is to silence the people and animals forever.

This baby gagging incident is a perfect example of mismanagement thru a Series of Monumental Mistakes.

Mistake #1: The hospital opted to wait two weeks to issue an official statement. Mistake #2: After two long weeks, they issue a complete denial of the incident. Mistake #3: The hospital shifts blame to the parents by implying that the parents gagged their own baby. Mistake #4: Instead of issuing an apology, the hospital challenges the parents to formalize their complaint by executing an affidavit.

It was bad enough that the hospital denied gagging the baby, but they had to make it worse by casting doubt on the parents’ integrity. This legal strategy guaranteed an unfavorable end for the hospital. The right thing would have been to immediately apologize for the incident, swiftly investigate the matter, candidly share the results of the investigation with the parents and then make real changes to vindicate the suffering of the aggrieved parties.

All businesses make mistakes. Most times, reparation can be made. An apology is always essential while an admission of guilt, while difficult and risky, is almost always the right call to make.

Tragically, the Series of Monumental Mistakes is continuing.

Mistake #5: While the hospital now admits to the practice of selectively taping pacifiers to newborn babies, they maintain they did NOT tape the mouth of the particular baby in question. The hospital having already issued an earlier denial of the taping of this baby is now obviously in a bind. How do they backtrack without being accused of lying?

The hospital has already failed at customer care at all levels. They’ve bombed out at public relations as well. If they stick with the same strategy and the same crisis management team, most likely, they will also fail at damage control. Mistake #6 is coming, no doubt.


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Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 01, 2014.


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