In general, Canadians trust their medical system. According to a 2011 EKOS Research study, 81 per cent believed they would receive adequate treatment if they were to become seriously ill. However, as every Ontario medical malpractice lawyer is acutely aware, medical accidents are surprisingly common in Canada – the Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that roughly one in every 18 hospital patients will suffer preventable harm.

With accidents occurring at such an elevated rate, can trust in the Canadian medical system endure? Events like the inquiry into former Ontario long-term care worker and alleged serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer are bound to shape the public’s opinion. Investigators in that case have revealed a fragile regulatory system that failed to act on numerous warnings and red flags around the troubled individual.

An expansive Toronto Star investigation from this year, Medical Disorder, also created a stir by showing how regulatory practices allowed doctors accused of misconduct to find work in other jurisdictions.

For Canadian patients and each Ontario medical malpractice lawyer, the lack of transparency in the Canadian healthcare system is cause for concern. As University of the Fraser Valley associate professor Fiona MacDonald and University of Manitoba associate professor Karine Levasseur recently pointed out in an opinion piece for the Hamilton Spectator, even the statistics reported by the Canadian Institute for Health Information were questionable due to unreliable records and reporting.

“Patients we interviewed often spoke of feeling dehumanized in current health-care culture,” wrote MacDonald and Levasseur. “They also emphasized the need to recognize the humanity of clinicians to allow for more open interactions and transparency.”

The medical community has an opportunity to increase transparency, improve trust, and ensure that Canadians maintain faith in the healthcare system. Apology legislation, for example, allows physicians to acknowledge errors or mistreatment without fear of legal repercussions. Injured patients, with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer, reserve the right to initiate legal action, but must rely on other evidence.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a medical setting, contact a medical malpractice lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to learn how we can help. Medical malpractice lawsuits in Canada are costly and complex, but our experienced team has been representing some of Ontario’s most severely injured accident victims for decades. We can assess the validity of your claim, provide legal guidance and access to leading medical resources, and aggressively pursue fair and reasonable compensation for the damages you have incurred.


Image credit: Nanomed Dreams/Wikimedia Commons

Greg Neinstein