VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Medicine POSTED ON: 6/13/2010
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CMAJ News High-profile death throws spotlight on error reports M anitoba’s medical error re- porting system — thought to be among the most pro- gressive in the country — has been rocked by allegations that senior re- gional health officials failed to dis- close key facts surrounding the high- profile death of a man who languished for 34 hours in a Winnipeg emergency room without receiving treatment. Manitoba is generally considered one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada when it comes to laws and pro- Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg tocols for encouraging the disclosure of medical errors, or critical incidents as the provincial government calls them. The province is one of only 3 with leg- islation that allows doctors to apologize to patients and their families without fear it will be interpreted as an admis- sion of liability. The province also compels health care workers to come Manitoba’s medical error reporting system has been held up as a beacon of progress but that reputation has been dimmed because key fact were initially suppressed in last forward with details of critical inci- year’s death of a 45-year-old man who spent 34 hours in the waiting room of the Win- dents, but protects them from publicity nipeg Health Sciences Centre. and legal liability. However, that system has been shaken by the recent disclosure of addi- tigations. However, the authority ini- to own up to all the mistakes that were tional facts surrounding the death of tially claimed Sinclair, 45, went un- made, she says. “The system is not bad, Brian Sinclair, a homeless man who treated because he did not approach the but it’s not working. Manitoba is doing died after spending nearly a day and a triage desk, and thus was never regis- a lot of things nobody else is doing [in half unattended in the emergency room tered in a queue to see a physician. the area of patient safety and report- of the Health Sciences Centre, Win- That version of events was challenged ing], but there is a lack of leadership nipeg’s largest hospital.
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