Med PRs at odds after patient dies

NEW YORK: The communications departments of Johnson & Johnson and New York City's Beth Israel Hospital are at odds over how to handle fallout from a patient's death on the operating table.

NEW YORK: The communications departments of Johnson & Johnson and New York City's Beth Israel Hospital are at odds over how to handle fallout from a patient's death on the operating table.

While neither party will point fingers, both refuse to answer questions about the other. Despite pending civil litigation and the threat of a criminal inquiry, the two PR departments have stopped communicating.

The disputed incident occurred in November 1997 during routine surgery at Beth Israel. It is alleged two physicians used a new J&J surgical instrument without training or authorization. Additionally, a J&J medical supply representative helped the doctors use the instrument during surgery despite not being licensed to practice medicine.

Both J&J and Beth Israel have expressed regret and pledged to take steps to avoid another situation like this one. However, neither party will discuss its communica-tions strategy.

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