Medical Malpractice in Canada: How often does it happen?

by John McKiggan

You may have a medical malpractice claim if you have been injured as a result of a preventable error or negligent care while receiving medical treatment.

Most Medical Injuries Preventable

A famous study by Harvard Medical School determined that over half of all injuries caused by medical mismanagement (in other words, not caused by the patient’s initial injury or disease) were preventable, and another quarter of those incidents were caused by negligence.

Canadian Medical Association Report

A report published by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Journal confirmed the findings of similar studies in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark and New Zealand.

The C.M.A. study concluded that:

1. As many as 24,000 patients die each year due to “adverse events” (doctor’s code word for a bad result or a mistake).

2. 87,500 patients admitted annually to Canadian acute care hospitals experience an adverse event.

3. 1 In 13 adult patients admitted to a Canadian hospital encounter an adverse event.

4. 1 in 19 adults will potentially be given the wrong medication or wrong medication dosage.

5. 37% of adverse events are “highly” preventable.

6. 24% of preventable adverse events are related to medication error.

5 Million Medical Mistakes

A report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicated that nearly ¼ of Canadian adults (that’s 5.2 million people!) reported that they, or a member of their family, had experienced a “preventable adverse event”. In other words, a medical error.

So there you have it, nearly ¼ of all Canadians, or a member of their family, have experienced a preventable adverse event that may be the result of medical malpractice.

Mistakes May Not Be Negligence

Not all mistakes are the result of negligence and just because a doctor was negligent does not necessarily mean you have a viable medical malpractice claim. That’s why I wrote The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada. So that patients and their family members who may have suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice can learn what they need to know to determine if they have a legitimate medical malpractice claim.

You can get a free copy of my book by contacting me through this blog or by calling my office toll-free 1-888-647-7201.

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