Category: Patient Safety

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.

Are Overworked Nurses Causing Medical Errors?

by John McKiggan

Are staffing demands putting patient safety at risk?

Last week the media reported two stories of interest to patient safety advocates.

The Province of Nova Scotia released statistics from its medical errors registry suggesting that, in the last six months, medical errors had caused almost thirty cases of serious injury or death in hospitals throughout Nova Scotia. If you are interested, you can read my article about the problems with Nova Scotia’s medical errors registry.

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.

Medical malpractice litigation helps improve patient care

by John McKiggan

I read with interest this article in the New York times written by Joanna Schwartz, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

One of the (false) arguments trotted out by oppontents of medical malpractice litigation is that it prevents disclosure because doctors and hospitals take a “circle the wagons” approach to litigation that inhibits sharing of information that could improve patient safety.

However, a study done by Ms. Schwartz showed just the opposite:

Canadian Hospital Ratings: Halifax hospitals rank well

by John McKiggan

CBC-TV’s The Fifth Estate is spearheading an initiative to rate and rank Canadian hospitals.

As a medical malpractice lawyer I applaud any effort that makes health care in Canada more transparent. Peter Drucker is famous for saying: “What gets measured gets managed”. So I have to think that using public data to educate the public about hospital performance and asking the public for feedback about hospitals can’t help but have a positive influence in the care that patients receive.

The CBC collected data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) and ranked the hospitals using certain criteria.

Dental Procedure Causes Brain Damage: The risks of “sleep dentistry”

by John McKiggan

A client of mine sent me a link to a story about a case in Manitoba. She thought I would be interested in the article because the situation was so similar to a case I was involved in a few years ago in New Brunswick.

According to the article, last month a four year old girl from Manitoba suffered a brain injury following botched dental surgery. Jairlyn Roulette was supposed to undergo a routine surgical procedure on October 11, but ended up with a permanent disability. Jairlyn needed some teeth capped, some fillings and an extraction and her dentist thought it would be best to subject her to general anesthetic.

In other words, Jairlyn was going to be unconscious throughout the dental procedure.

Does the Workers’ Compensation Act Immunize Hospitals Against Medical Malpractice Claims?

by John McKiggan

As a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer I frequently get calls from other lawyers who don’t practice this area of law, wondering if their client has a potential medical malpractice claim.

This week I got a call from a colleague of mine, and since his question is one I have been asked many times over the years, I thought it would be helpful to post some information here in case it is helpful to anyone else in the same circumstances.

Work Injury Leads to Negligence in Medical Treatment