Category: Medical Malpractice

Misdiagnosis of Neck/Back Pain can lead to Medical Malpractice Claims

by John McKiggan






Common problem may not have a common cause

Neck and back pain is one of the most common reasons that Canadians attend for medical treatment. Some studies have shown as far back as 1998 that more than 66% of the adult population were experiencingneck and back pain and more than 80% of adults had experienced back pain during their lifetime.

Pain usually resolves

Most People will be misdiagnosed in their lifetime: Why aren’t doctors more concerned?

by John McKiggan






Proper medical treatment requires proper diagnosis

It goes without saying that getting the right diagnosis is the first step in receiving proper medical care. Obviously if a patient isn’t properly diagnosed then the treatment they receive isn’t likely to address their illness or condition (except perhaps by chance).

So medical misdiagnosis is a serious threat to patient safety. In fact medical misdiagnosis is the number one cause of medical malpractice lawsuits in Canada.

Doctor Tries to Shut Down Med Malpractice Lawsuit by Suing Victim’s Lawyers: Frank v. Legate et. al.

by John McKiggan






The Ontario Court of Appeal has released an interesting decision in the case of Cathy Frank v. Legate et al. Victims of medical malpractice in Canada face a number of barriers in getting access to justice. The claims process can be complicated, time consuming and expense. The odds are stacked against plaintiff’s in medical malpractice claims for a variety of reasons. However, as this case illustrates, a doctor in Ontario tried a novel tactic in attempting to limit medical malpractice claims her.

Dr. Cathy Frank is an obstetrician in Ontario who is the defendant in a number of medical malpractice claims. The doctor adopted the unusual strategy of suing the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs who were suing Dr. Frank. The defendant doctor alleged that statements made by the plaintiff’s law firm in their statement of claim and on their website were defamatory.

Dr. Frank also claimed that she was the victim of malicious prosecution, that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were guilty of champerty and maintenance (a very old legal principle that prohibits plaintiffs from starting litigation with an improper motive), intentional interference with economic relations and intentional infliction of mental distress. Dr. Frank sought punitive damages from the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

What’s the most dangerous time to go to the hospital? The answer may surprise you.

by John McKiggan






Did you know that there are certain times when it is more dangerous to go to the hospital?

What’s the most dangerous time to go to the hospital?

As Canadians we are proud of our health care system. We expect hospitals, doctors and nurses to provide us with excellent care no matter when we are forced to go to the hospital. That’s not an unreasonable expectation.

Medical Malpractice Claims against Doctors Continue to Drop: But is it because of improvements in medical care?

by John McKiggan






What is the CMPA?

The Canadian Medical Protective Association represents almost every doctor in Canada. The Association is a mutual defence fund that operates sort of like insurance. If a doctor is sued for malpractice, the CMPA will defend the claim and if the doctor is found liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, the CMPA will pay the compensation out of its $3 billion dollar reserve fund.

The CMPA also represents doctors in matters dealing with College of Surgeon and Physician complaints, disciplinary matters, criminal charges, and matters dealing with hospital privilege issues.

How often does Medical Malpractice happen in Canada? The answer may surprise you.

by John McKiggan






In the six years that I have been writing this blog the article that has been consistently viewed the most, year after year, is the one published on September 29, 2008: How often does Medical Malpractice Happen in Canada?

Therefore, I thought it might be useful to take another look at the issue to see if the statics have changed or if there is any new information to shed some light on the question.

The American experience

What is the Safest Time to be admitted to Hospital? Weekend Admissions Carry Higher Risk of Death.

by John McKiggan






Weekends are dangerous in Hospitals

Last week the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a study that examined four million urgent acute care hospital admissions between 2010-2013. The study found that there was a 4% higher risk of death for patients admitted to hospital on a weekend rather than a weekday.

The statistics did not apply across the board. The so called “weekend effect” did not occur in hospital admissions for obstetric, pediatric or mental health patients.

How Long is Too Long? The 30 Minute C-Section Rule: Ediger (Guardian Ad Litem) v. Johnston

by John McKiggan






This article is an excerpt from a paper I presented at the national Birth Trauma Litigation conference in Toronto. The paper considers the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Ediger (Guardian Ad Litem) v. Johnston.

Eidger involved (among other things) allegations that the defendant failed to meet the appropriate standard of care in not performing a timely C- section.

The arguments in Ediger with respect to the standard of care required for emergency caesarean section are similar to those made more than ten years ago in Commisso v. North York Branson Hospital.

Diagnostic errors costly: Medical malpractice claims in Canada vs. United States

by John McKiggan






Misdiagnosis a common cause of malpractice claims

According to a recent study in the Journal BMJ Quality & Safety, diagnostic errors (medical misdiagnosis) are the biggest cause of medical malpractice payouts in the United States.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University reviewed a 25 year data base of malpractice claims compiled by the NatioPractitioneroner Database. The database contained details of 350,706 medical malpractice claims between 1986 and 2010.The study also measured the frequency, severity and costs of different medical malpractice occurrences.

Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Judge’s “Copycat” Decision (In Part): Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre

by John McKiggan






Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) issued a decision in a complicated medical malpractice case that raised the issue of when it is appropriate for judges to incorporate reasons taken from the briefs of one of the parties.

Background

In Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre the mother, Monica Cojocaru had previously given birth by C-section. On the recommendation of her obstetrician, Dr. Yue, Ms. Cojocaru agreed to delivery of her baby, Eric Cojocaru, by “vaginal birth after Cesarean section”, otherwise known as VBAC.

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