State of Healthcare: Medical Error High for Canada Provinces

Last modified: August 2, 2019

Richard Honaker M.D.
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Healthcare becomes issue for Canada provinces as medical error becomes more public every day! What’s next for Canadians?

It was one morning before Christmas in one of the Canada provinces in 2012 when Helen Church woke up with an excruciating pain behind her right eye. She ran around her apartment screaming in agony before finally being able to call 911 then passing out. Helen has fallen victim to a healthcare gone wretchedly awry for the second time in just a short succession.

Just two years before this incident, she went to a nearby hospital in one of the Canada provinces to have an ovary removed as healthcare treatment for a painful cyst. Hours later, she left with the ovary still in place and instead she had a piece of mesh on her abdomen to repair a non-existent hernia.

Months later, a specialist replaced an artificial, cataract-correcting lens that the specialist said had started to wear. Another specialist told her later that the earlier specialist had implanted the lens in the wrong position, which obscured her sight and punctured a duct, causing a slow bleed and massive pressure.

Medical Error is Certainly Real in Healthcare

These are very obvious medical error that didn’t seem to bother the doctors who made the mistakes. According to Helen, there was so much blood in there that it blew her eyeball out of her head and was hanging on her cheek. She said the blood was dripping everywhere and that the pain was so bad she became hysterical.

Both obvious medical error incidents that happened to Miss Church point to dangerous breakdowns in the Canadian healthcare system. And there are thousands of similarly harmful and sometimes even deadly medical errors that occur in facilities across the Canada provinces but are not found in any public record.

In fact, most instances of the healthcare system hurting rather than healing patients are not even reported by staff internally.

State of Healthcare: Medical Error High for Canada Provinces

70,000 Patients in Canada Provinces Suffer from Medical Error Yearly

Research states that around 70,000 patients in a year experience preventable, serious injury as a result of healthcare treatments. A landmark study was also published a decade ago that estimates as many as 23,000 Canadian adults die annually because of preventable medical error in acute care hospitals alone.

According to a critical incident investigator, discoveries of such things all throughout the Canada provinces just go into black holes. It’s as if the industry has created a perfect invisible box to put everything in.

Manitoba is one of the Canada provinces that actually released for the last three years a snapshot of what calamities can befall patients. And among the 100 cases reported was that of a mother who had a heart attack after staff mistakenly gave her a blood-pressure-increasing medication instead of a nausea antidote after a caesarean section.

Another patient who was known to be at risk of blood clots suffered a fatal cardiac arrest when staff neglected to give preventive treatment after surgery. Then there’s a woman who needed a second operation after an X-ray revealed a screw from a broken clamp had been left inside her during her C-section. And, there was one patient who without any further explanation underwent unnecessary open-lung biopsy. It’s just one medical error after another.

State of Healthcare: Medical Error High for Canada Provinces

Many Canada Provinces Never Report Medical Error; Furthering Healthcare Woes

For the rest of the Canada provinces, these cases don’t get reported at all and practically none described with any kind of narrative. In fact, legislation in most Canada provinces bars information on medical error being released to malpractice plaintiffs or publicly divulged under freedom-of-information acts.

The healthcare culture still appears to be in a straitjacket placed by an old fashioned hierarchy, fear of legal action, and a focus on punishment rather than learning from mistakes.

According to a nurse in one of Canada provinces hospital, she works with two surgeons whose skills are so lacking that she wouldn’t even let them touch her dog. She filed an anonymous complaint against one several years ago but very little actually changed.

Now she just stays quiet about problems of high rates of post-op infections and surgeries frequently needing re-dos. She said everyone just turns a blind eye and walk away, and that there are plenty of lying and cover-ups.

Healthcare Safety Experts Want to Publicize Medical Error More

Patient safety experts state that publicizing medical error is not to put shame or blame or take away from the fact that healthcare is filled with highly trained and dedicated professionals. Aside from a small scattering of incompetents, nobody comes to work expecting to give out anything but exemplary care.

When things go wrong, it’s usually the result of a complex interplay of factors that involves underlying flaws in the healthcare system. Finding ways to prevent medical error from happening is the ultimate goal and subject of intense research and numerous initiatives.

Publicity about medical error helps in drawing attention to the issue and in providing a well of knowledge. People need to know that patients are getting hurt so there will be enough pressure to fix the problems.

But that’s not the case at all because healthcare workers across Canada provinces are reluctant to expose mistakes. It’s either sometimes they don’t notice a breakdown in care of patients who are already severely ill, or they fear they will end up getting the blame if they report an error.

Some also sense that reports go nowhere when they are filed. Some also say that most hospitals have a punitive approach and a physician dominated hierarchy that discourages openness.

State of Healthcare: Medical Error High for Canada Provinces

Are You Afraid to Go to the Doctor?

For patients all throughout Canada provinces who have been subjected to healthcare malfunction and lived, the impacts can be very profound. Miss Church now has an artificial right eye which curtails her active life of having four rounds of golf per week.

The pain that led to the ovarian cyst diagnosis and was never treated still keeps her up at night until now. She said her life was completely turned around. And that it’s abominable that these so called specialists and experts can run away with doing such things to innocent people. People should be made aware of medical error and people should ask questions.

Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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