Crisis comms: When the Boston bombing suspects are patients at your hospital

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center treated 24 victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. That was just the start. About 1,000 media requests poured in after the two suspects were admitted.

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Like many hospitals nearby, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center treated victims of the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon.

But the two principal suspects were brought there for treatment, too.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died at Beth Israel Deaconess because of severe trauma suffered in the gunfight on April 19. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was wounded in the gunfight and later captured, has been upgraded to fair condition.

“We’re treating victims, as well as the suspect,” says Jerry Berger, director of media relations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It’s important to have people understand that’s two separate issues.”

The communications team has been going full throttle, working 23-hour days and doing everything it can to respond to roughly 1,000 media requests. To communicate what was happening at the hospital, the team held a press conference, created an email list for the bombing victims, and posted updates on its two Twitter accounts (here and here) and on Facebook for its followers.

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