The 2018 Ontario election campaign has been unusually eventful, marked by scandal, political flame-throwing, strange policy proposals, and surprising poll results. Through the turmoil, though, one agreed-upon fact has remained constant: that the province’s healthcare system is need of reform, and that so-called “hallway medicine” must be addressed. This issue has long been a concern of medical malpractice lawyers in Toronto.
Hallway medicine is, in effect, a euphemism for overcrowding in Ontario’s hospitals, a state of affairs that puts patients at risk. When hospitals are overcrowded, doctors, nurses and support staff are stretched beyond capacity, which makes it more likely that they will commit a medical error. Patients are also put at elevated risk of infection when they receive care in unorthodox settings like hallways, storage closets, or bathrooms.
Ontario’s three major parties – the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, and NDP – have each proposed fixes to the overcrowding crisis, but the efficacy of their plans remains in question. The Liberals and PCs have each vowed to open 30,000 new long-term care beds, while the NDP has pledged to open 40,000. The two left-of-centre parties have also pledged to increase funding for homecare, an important tool in the fight against overcrowding.
Will these measures be enough? As the Toronto Star editorial board pointed out in a recent opinion piece, hospital overcrowding is a sexy campaign issue without a simple solution. While more long-term care beds will help, they are essentially a band aid solution – a ground-up solution involving many stakeholders, including medical malpractice lawyers in Toronto and elsewhere, is necessary to promote legitimate change.
“The health care system doesn’t just need more independent programs to solve specific issues; it needs to deliver better outcomes overall,” the Star editorial board wrote. “That requires far more integration between all health care providers and innovation in how services are delivered.”
“Aging Ontarians have increasingly complex health needs so far more coordination between health providers, from doctors and home care to hospitals and long-term care facilities, is needed,” it continued. “Without that, a patient is just a 911 call away from filling a bed in a hospital.”
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of hospital overcrowding or medical errors, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to learn how we can help. Our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Toronto can assess the validity of your claim, provide legal guidance, and help you take the first steps on your path to recovery.
Image credit: Earl Andrew/Wikimedia Commons
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