Month: May 2008

Officials told to Turn a Blind Eye to Cancer Test Results: N.L.

by John McKiggan

Moira Hennessey, an assistant deputy minister in Newfoundland and Labrador’s health department has told the Cameron Inquiry that she was ordered not to question confusing figures about cancer test results according reports from the CBC.

“Forgot” to tell Bosses about Problems

She also testified that she “forgot” to pass on information on problems with cancer screening results to her bosses.

Disgraced Pathologist Menon “Sorry” but Blames Everyone in Sight

by John McKiggan

Dr. Rajgopal Menon, the dismissed pathologist at the centre of a public inquiry into botched cancer screening tests and autopsies in New Brunswick, apologized to his former patients yesterday for any errors he may have made.

Menon “Apologizes”

“I wish to sincerely apologize to any patient if I have made an error in reading their pathology slides. I was not aware of any errors in my work.”

Cape Breton Doctor so “Incompetent” no Training Program can Help: College of Physicians

by John McKiggan

Dr. Stani Osif of Cape Breton has been found guilty of “incompetence and professional misconduct” in a number of incidents at Northside General Hospital in North Sydney between 2003 and 2006 according to a story in today’s Chronicle Herald.

In June 2007 the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia suspended Dr. Osif’s license to practice medicine.


Man Set on Fire During Heart Surgery Sues Doctor: Vernon B.C.

by John McKiggan

Robbin Reeves underwent a liver transplant surgery at the Vancouver General Hospital in February 2006. He woke up with severe burns to his neck and shoulder.

Reeves has filed a medical malpractice claim in which he claims that during the surgery his heart stopped and doctors performed an open cardiac massage. Reeves’s lawsuit claims doctors tore one of the chambers of his heart and, in the rush to prepare for the emergency surgery, alcohol on his neck and shoulder caught fire, leaving him with serious burns.

You can read more details here.

Disgraced Pathologist Menon’s Work had ‘Big Problems’: New Brunswick

by John McKiggan

A review of surgical pathology practices at the Miramichi Regional Hospital found there were “big problems” with the work of Dr. Rajgopal Menon according to a report in the Chronicle Herald today.

The latest revelation in the ongoing inquiry into the botched cancer screening fiasco in New Brunswick came yesterday.

Dr. Rosemary Henderson, medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, and pathologist, Dr. Bruce Wright, conducted a review of Menon’s cases at the request of New Brunswick’s College of Physicians and Surgeons more than a year ago.

New Brunswick Court Orders Compensation for Mother of Baby Born after Failed Tubal Ligation

by John McKiggan

The National Post has reported that a mother from New Brunswick who became pregnant after a failed tubal ligation has been awarded $90,000.00 in compensation.

The woman, who was 26 years old at the time of the procedure, had three children to support, her husband was seriously ill, his business was failing and the couple had lost their house and car. To prevent the expense of further additions to the family, she had a tubal ligation, a permanent sterilization procedure thousands of Canadian women undergo every year.

After she became pregnant, she filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors that performed the procedure and the Hospital where the procedure was performed.

Doctors: Say “I’m Sorry” and don’t get sued!

by John McKiggan

Apologize and don’t get sued. The New York Times has reported a story that will come as no surprise to medical malpractice lawyers or Malcolm Gladwell.

Doctors who apologize for their mistakes get sued far less often than doctors who refuse to acknowlege they have done anything wrong.

The Times reports:
For decades, malpractice lawyers and insurers have counseled doctors and hospitals to “deny and defend.” Many still warn clients that any admission of fault, or even expression of regret, is likely to invite litigation and imperil careers.
A few hospitals have bucked the “circle the wagons and fight” mentality.
By promptly disclosing medical errors and offering earnest apologies and fair compensation, they hope to restore integrity to dealings with patients, make it easier to learn from mistakes and dilute anger that often fuels lawsuits.
A simple idea; taking responsibility for your actions.
At the University of Michigan Health System, one of the first to experiment with full disclosure, existing claims and lawsuits dropped to 83 in August 2007 from 262 in August 2001.
I have been representing victims of medical malpractice for 18 years. In almost every case, the patient came to me because they were frustrated by the lack of information they were receiving from their doctor, or the hospital.

Overworked Nurses Causing Medication Errors

by John McKiggan

Nurses who worked in hospitals that were understaffed, had inadequate medical resources and who had high rates of overtime were most likely to report that patients had been the victims of medication mistakes.

Nurses Stretched to the Limit:

Statistics Canada released a report today that says nurses working overtime or where staffing and resources were stretched were more likely to report a patient had received the wrong medication or dosage.

CTV reported some of the results of the study:
Among nurses who usually worked overtime, 22 per cent reported medication error, compared with 14 per cent of those who did not work overtime.

Drug Spending in Canada Consuming Health Resources

by John McKiggan

Total drug spending in Canada is estimated to have reached $26.9 billion in 2007, according to figures released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

The report states that since 1985 drug expenditure has consumed an increasing share of Canada’s health care dollar. In 2007, spending on drugs is expected to have reached $26.9 billion, representing 16.8% of total health care spending. Among major categories of health expenditure, drugs account for the second largest share, after hospitals.

This represents an increase of approximately $2 billion over 2006.