Patient safety incidents are the third leading cause of death in Canada

Fiona MacDonald. Allison Kooijman. Carolyn Canfield. Nelly Oelke. Robert Robson.

Canada’s third leading cause for death is patient safety incidents. Credit: Shutterstock

Both the COVID-19 and COVID-19 crises have both been dividedAnd galvanizedCanadians have a high level of health care. The past three years have presented new challenges to the health-care system across the country. However, the pandemic also exacerbated existing problems, most notably high levels of errors or mistreatment in Canadian healthcare.

According to a 2019 report from the Canadian Patient Safety InstituteCanada was already in a public health crisis before the pandemic. It was a crisis of patient safety. According to the report, patient safety incidents are the third leading cause demise in Canada after cancer and heart disease.

While there are few studies that provide national data on this topic for the United States, a 2013 study found that only under half of all patient safety events were calculated. 28,000 deaths. These are common errors made by Canadians. shared their experiences with mediaIn an effort raise awareness and to demand change

Converging crises

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact has caused a moment of dual crises. According to health-care workers, there is now a pre-existing crisis in patient safety and a second crisis in health care.

Edmonton physician Dr. Darren Markland recently closed his kidney specialist clinic after making a few “profound errors.” An interview with Global NewsHe explained that he couldn’t continue working at the current pace.

He is not alone in this decision. There have been waves across the country of resignations in the health system, leaving some areas struggling to cope with a system that is not “…”degrading, increasingly unsafe, and often without dignity.”

Many health practitioners were shocked by COVID-19’s sudden disruption of health care delivery. However, impact falls especially heavilyWhat was it? already overburdened and under-resourced health-care system. COVID-19 continues drain practitioner stamina and erode patient well-being, contributing towards the growing, but under-recognized, undercurrent of care failures.

As further explained in British Columbia’s 2020 In Plain Sight ReportBecause system failures are intertwined with racism and discrimination, Indigenous patients, especially Indigenous women, are often at forefront of this crisis. The high-profile case of Joyce Echaquan’s death in a Québec hospital has revealed, the intersection of health-care errors and racism is a reality across the country.

Pou hihiri, pou o te Aroha (Healing from harm) is a New Zealand restorative justice project.

Change is possible

There is always the possibility for change in times of crisis. The two main elements of the above-mentioned challenges are lack of transparency, and erosion of trust. To rebuild and sustain trust, it is essential to dismantle the culture of secrecy that prevents Canadians knowing the truth about their health-care system.

Why is there so much secrecy around health care? Canada’s current legislation, including Section 51 of B.C.”s Evidence Act (1996), extends legal privilege for safety and quality reviews leading to further harm for many patients, families and health-care providers. Intentional isolation, silencing, and exclusion following incidents of harm undermines trust and prevents learning. It also hinders opportunities to heal and recuperate for all parties.

While the issues of accountability in relation to the COVID-19 crise are different, trust is the same. Canada’s leaders and others around the globe politicized the pandemicIn many ways, often while flouting the rules themselves.

Transparency & accountability

We must end the lack transparency and accountability. Patients, families, communities and health care providers at all levels must have a reliable way of knowing the extent of the challenges we are facing—whether that be with respect to the recent pandemic crisis, the decades-old patient safety crisis or the ongoing impact of racism and discrimination in health care across the country.

If the possibility exists of building momentum for change and rebuilding trust within the health care system, it is essential that simple, direct accounts of numbers and stories are made widely available.

Transparency is a key step forward. We can also rebuild trust in health care by promoting healing for all.

New Zealand, for example, has achieved significant success in implementing restorative justice processesAfter suffering from health care harm. This type of process requires a shift in thinking beyond “What happened?” and “Who is to blame?” “Who has been hurt and what are their needs?”

We can move on from this crisis moment in a way that promotes just relations of care, concern and dignity. We can continue to move forward in a manner that fosters trust in our beloved, but beleaguered system of public health-care. Restorative justice is a way to create trust in the public health-care system. avenue to do soThis is what we hope will serve as a foundation to action.

Anesthesia patient safety foundation calls upon health care systems and medical professionals to make systemic improvements to stop medical mistakes

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