Penticton petition seeks changes to how patients are treated after medical errors - InfoNews

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Penticton petition seeks changes to how patients are treated after medical errors

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
May 02, 2019 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton woman is spearheading a petition she hopes will initiate changes to the way the Canadian medical and legal system deals with medical errors.

Teri McGrath’s petition has been open for signatures since March 15 and has until June 13 to collect at least 500 signatures before South Okanagan Kootenay MP Richard Cannings may present it to the House of Commons in Ottawa.

McGrath argues there are several steps that could be taken to reduce the trauma of medical errors in addition to improving safe patient care. Her biggest concern is over tort law, the Canadian laws that govern compensation for people who have been injured by the mistakes of others.

READ MORE: MISDIAGNOSED: What a Vernon woman learned from five-year fight for justice

In an email explaining her reasons for advancing the petition, McGrath said she believes there's a deepening sense of ‘institutional betrayal’ prevalent across our country due to the adversarial, divisive culture of tort law entrenched in our health care service today.

“Health care practitioners and the tort system are united in their efforts to maintain the status quo and that includes judges who preside over every attempt by a patient or family to bring justice for harm done. Instead, they are traumatized a second time in the court room after the death of a loved one,” she wrote.

Specifically what McGrath is petitioning for is:

  • a mandatory reporting system which would include all health care practitioners and facilities in order to learn from mistakes made in delivering health care.
  • mandatory empathy and compassion courses for all health care practitioners.
  • a request for a national public inquiry to determine fair compensations methods for medical errors, such as arbitration, mediation and a no fault health care compensation board.

McGrath says her initiatives would eliminate lengthy legal proceedings, noting seven countries have eliminated tort law and have replaced it with no fault compensation.

McGrath says the Canadian Medical Protective Association, which is funded by every province in Canada, has assets of more than $3 billion dollars with which to hire top tier lawyers to fight claims. She says the  money could be used to fund no fault compensation, but that hasn’t happened because of lobbying efforts by 'prominent players.'

She says the matter needs a public inquiry to examine the value of alternative ways to compensate families and patients who experience medical errors, calling the issue both national and nonpartisan.

"Many people have tried over the years to challenge the Canadian Medical Protection Association, but they are very powerful and in my opinion control every aspect of our health care,” she writes.

McGrath’s petition can be found at this site.

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