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Medical Malpractice – Hospital Errors and Hospital Overcrowding

In British Columbia and throughout Canada, it is no secret that our hospitals are overcrowded and that they are not equip to adequately handle the amount of patients who require care. As hospitals try to deal with overcrowding, patients are sometimes being treated or held in unconventional places such as hallways, staff rooms and supply closets. When this occurs, vulnerable patients face the risk of acquiring infections and increases the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors.

A recent CBC article reported on a female who was placed in a “filthy” conference room at London Ontario’s University Hospital while she was recovering from surgery and an infection. She was a particularly vulnerable patient to infection as she previously had 4 major surgeries in the preceding 5 years requiring her to be on antibiotics due to chronic infections. The vice president of the London Health Services attempted to justify this stating that sometimes patients need to be placed in “unconventional spaces” when the hospital is at 100% capacity.

In British Columbia, hospitals are run and operated by a number of government health authorities who employ nurses, nurse practitioners, laboratory technicians and other types of practitioners who are not doctors. When a patient is admitted to a hospital, they are owed a certain standard of care by the hospital staff.

Hospital errors made by hospital staff can arise in a number of different ways such as:

  • incorrectly administering medication such as administering the wrong medication or administering the wrong dosage
  • errors in laboratory and testing
  • failing to alert a physician when required
  • failing to properly oversee a patient’s condition
  • failing to treat a patient’s condition in a timely manner
  • failing to properly document a patient’s condition

In order to determine whether there has been hospital or hospital staff negligence, the first step is a thorough review of the hospital records by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate whether there is a viable medical malpractice claim. It is essential that this done without delay in order to ensure that proper and timely investigation can occur. This is especially important because the hospitals have internal committees which immediately investigate possible hospital errors in order to avoid malpractice lawsuits and to ensure general hospital safety.

An article in the National Post is informative regarding hospital errors and the secrecy which occurs with internal investigations conducted by the hospitals.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice claims is important as these claims are highly complex requiring specific skills. While a number of personal injury lawyers advertise themselves as offering representation for medical malpractice claims, not all have the necessary skill set or experience to adequately advocate and navigate the legal process. The lawyers at Holness and Small Law Group have 20 years of experience with medical malpractice claims. Contact us to learn more about your medical malpractice claim.

Tags: hospital error, Medical Malpractice, steps to take after medical malpractice claim

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"Jacqueline A. Small is a personal injury lawyer with over 15 years of experience and a partner with Holness Law Group."

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