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Patient safety

Winnipeg’s review of medical errors first in Canada

WINNIPEG – A special review of all patient deaths in Winnipeg hospitals last year uncovered 27 new cases where patients died as a result of an unintended medical error.

Quality control officials with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority reviewed all 2,577 deaths in hospitals in 2008 to see if any patients died as a result of a systemic or medical error – the first time any jurisdiction in Canada has undertaken such a review.

The review was done on top of the systems already in place to report medical errors, which include a 24-hour hotline for patients, their families and hospital staff to report medical errors.

Chief patient safety officer Dr. Rob Robson said that, as a result of the review, 60 deaths deemed “worrisome” were turned over to patient safety officials to investigate further. Of those, 32 were later deemed critical incidents – unintended incidents that caused serious harm to a patient.

Five of the incidents had already been reported as a critical incident by patients’ families or hospital staff. An additional 27 were new cases. A total of 72 patients died in hospital as a result of a critical incident last year, up slightly from 2007, when 67 people died from a medical error.

 

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