how to write a message containing bad news.
Create a script for a phone message.
- Read the following scenario: Vail Products of Toledo, Ohio, manufactured a line of beds for use in hospitals and other institutions where there is a need to protect patients who might otherwise fall out of bed and injure themselves (including patients with cognitive impairments or patterns of spasms or seizures). These “enclosed bed systems” use a netted canopy to keep patients in bed rather than the traditional method of using physical restraints such as straps or tranquilizing drugs. The intent is humane, but the design is flawed: At least 30 patients have become trapped in the various parts of the mattress and canopy structure, and eight of them have suffocated. Working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Vail issued a recall on the beds, as manufacturers often do in the case of unsafe products. However, the recall is not really a recall. Vail will not be replacing or modifying the beds, nor will it accept returns. Instead, the company is urging institutions to move patients to other beds, if possible. Vail has also sent out revised manuals and warning labels to be placed on the beds. The company also announced that it is ceasing production of enclosed beds.
2. A flurry of phone calls from concerned patients, family members, and institutional staff is overwhelming the support staff. As a writer in Vail’s corporate communications office, you’ve been asked to draft a short script to be recorded on the company’s phone system. When people call the main number, they’ll hear “Press 1 for information regarding the recall of Model 500, Model 1000, and Model 2000 enclosed beds.” After callers press 1, they’ll hear the message you’re about to write, explaining that although the action is classified as a recall, Vail will not be accepting returned beds, nor will it replace any of the affected beds. The message should also assure customers that Vail has already sent revised operating manuals and warning labels to every registered owner of the beds in question.
3. The phone system has limited memory, and you’ve been directed to keep the message to 75 words or less. Use a word processor to create your script.