Crisis management, especially when it relates to deaths of children, requires a special level of compassion. Here’s a sample of my take on crisis communications in the Wall Street Journal on the company that missed the mark.

Adele Cehrs, chief executive, Epic: “Sanofi’s response to the alleged death of children from a vaccine is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 for compassion. While Sanofi’s reputation engineers are focused on the medical details–such as stating symptoms ‘could get worse’–the company should focus on empathy for the patients and their families.

“Being overly cautious about issuing an apology is natural for a company with $1 billion a year in profits to treat dengue [fever] at stake. But saying, ‘No deaths related to the vaccine have been reported to us,’ will not win the company any goodwill from the World Health Organization or other governmental organizations.

By Adele Cehrs