MISDIAGNOSIS: MP will look into bigger picture of Vernon woman's legal struggle

FILE PHOTO: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold.

VERNON - A Vernon woman’s concerns with how medical malpractice suits are handled will be looked into at the federal level.

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold says he has raised the matter with his colleagues in Ottawa.

Yesterday, iNFOnews.ca published a story about Allison Kooijman, who was misdiagnosed in 2012 and received unnecessary surgery because of it. She was injured during the operation, and went to court seeking compensation over the error.

You can read about her five-year legal battle here.

Vernon resident Allison Kooijman has spent the last five years of her life seeking justice for an erroneous cancer diagnosis.
Vernon resident Allison Kooijman has spent the last five years of her life seeking justice for an erroneous cancer diagnosis.

Arnold wouldn’t speak specifically about Kooijman’s case or any discussions he’s had with her due to confidentiality reasons, but confirmed the issue was brought to his attention and he will be investigating it.

“I am looking further into it… to delve into the system and the way the courts handle patient claims to see if their claims are being adjudicated properly or if it’s causing undue hardships for them,” Arnold says.

In Canada, the only way to seek compensation for medical malpractice is legal action, and most who pursue claims are up against the Canadian Medical Practitioners Association, a massively endowed defence for doctors that is subsidized by public dollars.

“There’s a lot of questions to be answered,” Arnold says. “I’ll continue to move forward to investigate further if this is a widespread issue.”

Arnold confirmed he has seen or heard of more than one case.

He welcomes any constituent who feels they have been inappropriately treated, whether through the courts or elsewhere, to contact him.

“If they feel they have been unduly treated, we can try and look into it,” he says.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster has not responded to a request for an interview, and Health Minister Terry Lake was not available for comment Friday afternoon. 

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