Delicate PR Operation Supports Transplant

After Children's Memorial Hospital, a private hospital in Chicago, refused to treat 11-year-old Ana Esparza because she was uninsured and could not afford a life-saving liver transplant, Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital agreed to do the surgery for only $225,000 -- discounted from the normal $500,000 cost of the procedure. PR Week reported that JMH's director of public affairs and communications said the Miami hospital "was careful not to disparage the Chicago hospital" and "was concerned the local community would be angered that JMH had gone beyond its regional needy base to provide a discounted service for someone from another state." The PR Week story didn't mention the heroic fundraising efforts by Ana herself and Chicago's Hispanic community, which raised $193,000 to save the girl's life. It also made no mention of the PR industry's role in making sure that the United States remains the only country in the industrialized world without a national health care system.