A busy medical malpractice lawyer is more likely to hear about serious medical errors than members of the general public. This exposure can make it seem as though dozens of errors and injuries are occurring in Canadian hospitals every day… which they are. A new report from Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk shows that roughly six out of every 100 patients treated and discharged from Ontario hospitals are injured, an average of more than 180 injuries every day.

“Each year, Ontario’s hospitals discharge one million people,” said Lysyk, according to the CBC. “Of those, about 67,000 people were harmed during their hospital stay.”

Ontario’s rate of patient injury is second highest in the country, behind only Nova Scotia. The report found that Ontario’s hospitals sometimes fail to comply with required safety practices standards; that hospitals and nursing agencies do not effectively exchange information about underperforming nurses, which leads to fired nurses being rehired at new hospitals; that disciplinary procedures for physicians take too long and are inordinately expensive; that many long-term care facilities fail to meet reasonable standards for food and nutrition; and that addiction services are woefully lacking, leading to increased death rates and treatment wait times.

The report also notes that hospitals are not required to track or report “never-events” – medical errors that should not occur under any circumstances, including leaving surgical tools inside a patient. The province intends to keep closer tabs on these events going forward.

“This reporting … is very important so that lessons can be learned and improvements can happen,” said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, per the CBC. “We will continue to work to ensure that all hospitals do report these critical incidents.”

Only a small number of the thousands of reported injuries result in malpractice claims. In order for a medical malpractice lawyer to bring a successful case against a nurse, physician or hospital, the injured plaintiff must be able to prove the following:

  • That he or she was owed a duty of care by the defendant medical practitioner
  • That he or she incurred demonstrable damages
  • That the defendant failed to provide a reasonable standard of care
  • That that failure was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages
  • That the results of the failure were reasonably foreseeable

If you’ve been injured in a medical accident in Ontario, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Our team will be able to assess your case and guide you through the legal process. Reach out today for more information.

Greg Neinstein