Red Cross’ Own Employees Doubt the Charity’s Ethics: Internal Survey

Survey results obtained by ProPublica also show a crisis of trust in the charity’s senior leadership


A survey of American Red Cross employees shows a crisis of trust in the charity's leadership and deep internal doubts about the Red Cross' commitment to ethical conduct.

A summary of the survey results, obtained by ProPublica and NPR, was released internally in September. The survey was completed by a bit more than half of the Red Cross' roughly 25,000 employees.

In response to the statement, "I trust the senior leadership of the American Red Cross," just 39 percent responded favorably.

In response to the statement, "The American Red Cross shows a commitment to ethical business decisions and conduct," 61 percent responded favorably. That means about 4 in 10 respondents doubt the ethics of the venerable charity.

"Candidly, the results could have been stronger," Chief Executive Gail McGovern acknowledged in an email to employees. She also called the Red Cross' score on ethics "very high" and identified ethics as one of "our strengths."

During McGovern's six-year tenure, the charity has faced periodic budget deficits and is in the midst of the latest in a series of layoffs. The Red Cross has seen shrinking revenue from its blood business and rising pension costs. In the last year, the charity's fundraising efforts have dwindled without a large national disaster to help bring in donations. The charity finished its last fiscal year with a $70 million deficit and 1,200 workers are expected to lose their jobs over the next year.

Also, ProPublica and NPR reported last month that officials who helped lead the charity's response to Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac believed they were undermined by senior leadership. Resources were diverted for public relations purposes by national headquarters, hurting the relief efforts. Internal assessments concluded the charity wasn't prepared to effectively respond to a large storm.

Current and former officials said the Red Cross' relief efforts also suffered from attrition in its ranks of experienced volunteer disaster responders, many driven away by a series of reorganizations by McGovern, who has moved to centralize decision-making.

The employee survey, which was conducted by IBM, notes that other companies scored better on the questions about trust. About 20 percent of respondents at other companies expressed concern about their organization's ethics, compared with nearly 40 percent for the Red Cross survey.

Asked about the survey, Red Cross spokeswoman Suzy DeFrancis said it was the first of its kind for the charity.

"It is regrettable that you are taking work that we are doing to improve employee engagement and using it to criticize us," DeFrancis wrote in an email. DeFrancis' declined to comment on McGovern's characterization of the survey.

The survey suggests that the layoffs and reorganization have taken their toll on the morale of the Red Cross' paid staff. Just 35 percent said they "feel supported during organizational change" at the charity.

The survey also shows that employees are proud to be associated with the Red Cross itself, apart from the current leadership: 83 percent of respondents said they were proud to work at the charity.

But most of the survey respondents do not believe the Red Cross has a bright future.

In response to the statement, "The senior leadership of the American Red Cross has communicated a vision of the future that motivates me," 39 percent responded favorably. That compares with an average 61 percent of respondents from other companies in response to the same question.

And just 42 percent responded favorably to the statement, "I believe the American Red Cross has an outstanding future."

Can you help us with our Red Cross reporting? Learn how to share a tip or email [email protected].



Life Exclusive
Stop unnecessary vaccination: eminent doctors, scientists to the PM

There have been 76 deaths till August 2014 from Pentavalent vaccination. This is unacceptable and the PMO must intervene and stop this unwarranted vaccination, instead of promoting it, says a letter sent by a group of academicians, practitioners and teachers of pediatrics and public health


Several eminent doctors and scientists have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi's immediate intervention to stop unwarranted vaccination in public interest.


Highlighting the recent deaths of young children following Pentavalent vaccination (76 deaths till August 2014), the letter sent to the PM says, "We request this note from us may please be taken on record since the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has itself been involved in pronouncements of vaccine initiatives in the past few months. We feel it is our responsibility to place these scientific facts before the PMO so that it is aware of the facts and so that urgent and appropriate action may be initiated by you to direct the Ministry of Health to act in public interest and in accordance with basic precautionary principles. We hope we will receive an action taken report in the next two weeks".

The letter is signed by Prof Dr BM Hegde, former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr Vikas Bajpai from the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Amitav Banerjee, Professor for Community Medicine at Dr DY Patil Medical College, Dr JP Dadhich, Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Arun Gupta, Paediatrician and Member of the PM's Council on India's Nutrition Challenges, Prof SK Mittal, former Professor of Pediatrics, MAMC and Head of Paediatrics at Pushapanjali Crosslay Hospital, Prof Ritu Priya, Prof at Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Dr Jacon Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, Prof S Srinivasan, former Director-Professor of Pediatrics, JIPMER and Prof KP Kushwaha, Principal and Dean of BRD Medical College.

"Expensive vaccines that have little utility are being rolled out without monitoring benefits or harms and which are causing deaths and serious adverse effects. As a result, in spite of official attempts at denial, the public are losing trust in the entire immunization programme. We, a group of academicians, practitioners and teachers of pediatrics and public health would like to draw your attention to the pattern of adverse events and deaths from the newly introduced Pentavalent Vaccine (DPT+ Hib + Hep B vaccine) which is proposed to be rolled out nationwide as a government policy," the letter says.

Alleging global pressure to roll out vaccination drives, the letter says, "We are aware that there is global pressure from international organisations and donors. These very international organisations have ensured that even the protocol used to investigate the deaths have now been changed so the deaths can be ignored."      

According to the letter, every few days one more child dies after receiving the Pentavalent vaccine.  

The Deccan Herald of 22 August 2014 reported two more deaths from Haryana with the Pentavalent vaccine. Last week it was a death in Ujjain. Today’s newspaper (Nai Dunia, Indore) reports a death in Shivpuri (MP). Yet as these deaths mount, it has been announced that Pentavalent vaccine is to be introduced in three more states. Already as per RTI reply there have been 76 deaths in India till August 2014 from Pentavalent adverse events following immunization (AEFI).
It says vaccines are a public health measure to prevent serious disease and deaths. That is how a common man perceives the role of a vaccine. Therefore, deaths in healthy children from vaccines are not acceptable. These deaths have become so frequent that in Tamil Nadu, in spite of official denials, people have stopped going for vaccination and the immunization uptake has fallen by 25% in the last 4 years. According to the District Level Household Survey – DLHS 4: 2012-13 ( immunization coverage across districts in Tamil Nadu, with over 85% full immunization (DLHS–3:2007-08) has fallen to 56%. At the same time, a study on Hepatitis B vaccine (now included in the Pentavalent vaccine) published in the latest issue of the journal of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics – Indian Pediatrics shows the vaccine does not protect babies from infection, it added.

Here is the letter sent to the PMO...


You may also want to read...






Dr. Rakesh Goyal

2 years ago

This is published in NY Times -
‘Superbugs’ Kill India’s Babies and Pose an Overseas Threat

From the article -

These infants are born with bacterial infections that are resistant to most known antibiotics, and more than 58,000 died last year as a result, a recent study found.

Simple Indian

2 years ago

with the Medical Council of India (MCI) itself mired in various controversies, it can hardly be expected to take a bold decision in this matter. Besides, the record of self-regulating institutions in India is abysmal, to say the least. Malpractices and unethical practices by doctors has made medical practice lose its once revered status. Like teachers, doctors commanded respect but thanks to commercial considerations overshadowing their professional ethics/commitments, both these professions have become extremely business-oriented, rather than service-oriented.

Deepak Mahulkar

2 years ago

The reason for death perticularly in malnurished society is due to many reasons. Is it proved with lot of research that death reported above are due to preventive medicines?

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

Wish a speedy fully evaluated decision soon for India specially. Good luck team Prof Hegde

Peter Menon

2 years ago

76 deaths is 76 deaths too many. Nonetheless a pertinent question. Does anyone know exactly how many infants have undergone vaccination ? Another question - is there any conclusive proof that the vaccinations caused the deaths? Yet another question - do we know how much sickness and death is prevented by Vaccinations?

Surely till we know the answers to these questions it would be impetuous to conclude that vaccinations are bad and need to be stopped.

M S Prabhakar

2 years ago

It's very important that we:

1. Believe in evidence-based medicine (EVM) and hard facts;

2. Don't believe in dangerous half-truths and total nonsense.

It's all the more important because innocent, voiceless children are involved.

UNICEF/ WHO has researched extensively on this controversy and has published an excellent booklet for common folks (Download from: )


Jagannath Chatterjee

In Reply to M S Prabhakar 2 years ago

Are the WHO and UNICEF free from conflict of interest? If they were vaccines would have been discontinued ages ago.

M S Prabhakar

In Reply to Jagannath Chatterjee 2 years ago

Why do you ask me if WHO and UNICEF are free from conflict of interest? I don't represent them. India is a permanent member of the UN and according to information available from UN secretariat (see ), India's 2014 share of UN general budget is $18.8+ Million, which, as you know is paid by taxpayers like me. In return, we get services like the one I've cited in my original comment. As an ordinary Indian, I expect these studies to be unbiased and free from conflicts of interest. If you have reason to believe that WHO and UNICEF studies are biased with undisclosed conflicts of interest, it's a big scandal. You need to place the facts (undisclosed conflicts of interest) in public domain. Don't throw isolated pieces of research data that suit a particular hypothesis. Evidence-Based Medicine is based on modern science, probability, stochastics and statistics and is the best healthcare tool available since the evolution of modern western medicine.

Jagannath Chatterjee

In Reply to M S Prabhakar 2 years ago

Here is a link to my article on 'polio eradication' in India. As a group we are yet to get definitive answers from the WHO and UNICEF. And please let us stop talking about evidence based medicine in this era of large scale data and disclosure corruption.

Notoevms Admin

2 years ago

Please see links in (Vaccine Risk Awareness Network) for information on vaccine risks

Vijayabhaskar Pulla

2 years ago

How many deaths have been investigated to establish deaths of every infant thoroughly? It is also observed HiB reduced the incidence of pneumonia drastically atlas in UK from my practice i can say and there is evidence for it. The SIDS is well known cause of death unfortunately there is no cause we can find at least they must have been investigated by post mortem and thorough investigation to conclude the cause as vaccination. It would be dangerous to blame vaccinations when we have data from all over the world and scaring people about vaccination and thus bringing down the uptake. Remember the vaccination and autism scare with MMR which led to rise in measles because of the reduced uptake which was proved otherwise. The only way we can say whether it harmful or not is by thorough research to prove conclusively and research peer reviewed to conclude on recommending non usage.


Jagannath Chatterjee

In Reply to Vijayabhaskar Pulla 2 years ago

It is strange that you cite the vaccine-autism link to champion the cause of vaccines. Dr Wakefield's findings in the form of a case study has been confirmed by more than 30 studies (including one in Pediatrics). The London based tabloid newspaper that instigated the case against Wakefield has subsequently been embroiled in a well publicized scandal and has been closed down. It is also well known now that the case against Wakefield was a pharma-politician killing to save the skins of prominent politicians. Subsequently ALL the CDC major studies disproving the vaccine-autism link have been exposed to be shams. People advocating vaccines have a lot of explaining to do and must be held accountable for their irresponsible behaviour and for harm to countless children all over the globe.

Good Doctors for Indian Villages

Training good doctors must begin ground up


The usual complaint from politicians is that doctors are reluctant to go to villages to serve the rural population. Politicians try and devise quick-fix measures, some of which appear draconian. Yet, nothing seems to work in the long run. Today’s MBBS courses do not train a doctor in good bedside medicine, to practise in villages where diagnosis cannot be left to technology and tests. Their training is technology-focused and diagnostics-dependent; as such, it cannot be extrapolated to a village setting.


Scientific studies show that 80% of accurate diagnosis can be made by simply listening carefully to the patient and physically examining him/her. This message does not get through amidst the cacophony of the technological claptrap. Today’s doctors cannot diagnose a brain attack without MRIs and CAT scans. Even a simple tension headache needs a CAT scan to rule out early cancer! Healing outcomes were much better before any of these gadgets were invented. The obsession with tests and reports is more to save the doctor’s skin in this era of consumerist action.


Today’s MBBS courses are top heavy with theoretical information, cramming information for exams, and little hands-on bedside experience. Except during the end of the year examinations, students rarely spend enough time at patients’ bedsides. Doctors-in-training have little time in the midst of ever increasing specialities and the race to get their nose into graduate teaching and evaluation. We need a completely revamped course, much shorter than the present-day MBBS course, with more stress on bedside diagnosis. The filtered lot of terminally-ill patients in the teaching hospital ward setting, gives the student a distorted version of disease incidence and prevalence in society.


The course could be three-year long, with anatomy being taught in the first three months and alternate medical systems’ knowledge being taught in the final three months, along with medicine, surgery and midwifery. The evaluation system should be an on-going process without the need for end of the year exams, except in the final year where the student appears for an all-India test.


We can even relax the entry criteria. Admissions need not be based on the marks obtained in the entrance test, but on a well-devised aptitude test, with pass marks in the so-called 10+2 level as the cut-off. We should foster a culture of the intern ‘following in the footsteps’ of his mentor, in the true sense of the phrase. On successful completion of the internship, the young graduate must be made to serve in a village for five years, before qualifying to go for a one-year condensed MBBS course.


Nowadays, students also avoid the vital internship year during which they are supposed to have hands-on bedside experience. Post-graduation should depend not on the marks obtained in the final examination, but on the number of years of village service—the longer the better. The condensed MBBS course should be devised to fill the gaps in their initial degree course. This will ensure that we have a steady supply of good, humane, clinically trained doctors for our villages. The present public health centres (PHCs) could be closed to make room for village schools as the centre of village health.


The two new ideas, in tandem, will ensure that every Indian village is adequately covered for sickness and healthcare. On each of the topics discussed here, I have been writing exhaustively for years; these are available in books and articles all over the world. These ideas could be modified, depending on local needs. We must move fast in this direction; otherwise, our Western-oriented medical training will produce second-grade doctors for Western hospitals and not for our masses in far-flung villages.


This approach is also fair to the new doctors, since all of them would get an opportunity to go up the ladder, if they do well. In addition, this will deter young doctors from trying to get their post-graduate (PG) degrees without any hands-on experience, immediately after MBBS which only makes them good technologists and very poor doctors. We could then easily abolish the burden of huge amounts of black money changing hands under the table, for PG seats, ranging from Rs2 crore to Rs4 crore per seat, depending on the subject.


(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.)



vinayak mahajan

2 years ago

why should doctors only do rural service? government is spending more money on engineering, particularly on IITs, after 4 years of engineering they fly abroad not even thinking about country and thinking that it's a birth right to serve MNCs. Make a rule that every engineer should work first in government offices, then only they can do private or Govt jobs. Now a days it has become a fashion (including film stars and leaders) saying that doctors only have social responsibilities and to maintain moral values, ethics etc. An idiotic leader takes one rupee salary per month and maintains a Benz car, another stupid star takes crores for one episode and comments on DOCTORS professional services. Lets demand that every charted accountant should work in government banks and audit department, every engineer should work in government engineering offices, every lawyer should work in courts for one year before they were given their degrees.... WE HAVE LOT OF BACKLOG OF CASES.. Why only doctors?????

Mahesh Kumar Tennati

2 years ago

Dr. Hegde, Great suggestions. May be you should directly write to PM with all your suggestions, at the following url

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