Medical Malpractice Kills More Than 24,000 Canadians Each Year

by John McKiggan

As many as 24,000 Canadian patients die each year due to “adverse events” (medical code words for medical malpractice).

What are we going to do about it?

A report published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled: “The Canadian Adverse Events Study: the incidence of adverse events in hospital patients in Canada” confirmed the findings of similar studies in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark and New Zealand.

Some of the findings include:

• As many as 24,000 patients die each year due to “adverse events”.
• 87,500 patients admitted annually to Canadian acute care hospitals experience an adverse event.
• 1 in 13 adult patients admitted to a Canadian hospital encounter an adverse event.
• 1 in 19 adults will potentially be given the wrong medication or wrong medication dosage.
• 37% of adverse events are “highly” preventable.
• 24% of preventable adverse events are related to medication error.
• The most common areas for an adverse event to occur was surgery followed by medicine related errors.

The sad fact is that most victims of medical malpractice do not even know they have been the victim of medical negligence because in most provinces in Canada there is no law that requires doctors and nurses to report medical errors to their patients!

In Nova Scotia the Department of Health has adopted a Disclosure of Adverse Events Policy that requires “organizations providing health care” to have a:

…process in place to promptly inform clients of pertinent facts associated with adverse events.

Policies are fine but if the “organization providing health care” never finds out about a medical error because a doctor or nurse has covered it up then how does that protect patients?

Until there is a statutory duty on doctors and nurses to report medical errors, and sanctions for those that don’t, patient safety is going to take second place to the self interest of who have committed errors and are afraid to be held accountable.

If you are looking for a Nova Scotia Medical Malpractice Lawyer you can contact me for a free copy of my book: The Consumers Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of potential medical malpractice victims never receive a penny in compensation.

If you believe you or a family member believe you may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice you can contact me through this blog, or call me toll free at 1-888-647-7201.

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