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.

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.

Nova Scotia Medical Errors Registry a Step in the Right Direction: Still a Long Way to go

by John McKiggan

Last week Nova Scotia released the result of its new policy which requires hospitals to report adverse events (medical speak for errors or mistakes).

According to the Province in the last six month there were 27 separate incidents, 21 of which where an “adverse event” led to serious disability or death.

Step in the right direction

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.

Defence Experts “Crossed the Line”: Boyd v. Edington

by John McKiggan

In the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Boyd v. Edington, Dr. Richard Edington was ordered to pay $15 million dollars to Danielle Boyd and her family as a result of a catastrophic and debilitating brain injury she suffered due to Dr. Edington’s failure to diagnose the fact that she was suffering a stroke caused by dissection of one of her vertebral arteries.

15 Million dollars in compensation

The parties agreed, before the trial, on the amount of damages the plaintiffs would be entitled to receive if Dr. Edington was found to be responsible for Boyd’s injuries. The National Post reported on this story in part due to the significant amount of the damage award.