Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Timely Access to Medical Care - Lawsuits and the Blame Game

There's a lawsuit that has been launched by Dr. Day alleging that the government has failed to provide timely access to medical care and in doing so has violated patient's charter rights to security of the person. The government has submitted in its statement of defence that it is not responsible and that it is the doctor's who failed to provide their patients with timely access.

Back when I had my daughter - I was told that by my doctors that they could not access the resources. My doctors told me that the OR was not available, that my case had been bumped by other more urgent surgeries. Then when I wrote the patient care quality office a year later to find out more about what had happened - the response I received back clearly indicated that it was not that the resources were unavailable, but rather that my doctors had failed to facilitate access to them when they were available.

As a result, I was left not knowing what happened - my doctors had said the resources were unavailable and the health authority had said that they were available. Either my doctors were lying and had committed a malpractice or the health authority/hospital was lying and had failed to ensure adequate resources were available when they were needed.

In the Day case, as in my own - it is clear that the doctors are pointing their fingers squarely at the system (the health authorities and the government) - only to find the government pointing squarely back at the doctors. Unfortunately, this leaves patients in a difficult position - in order to get accountability for being unable to get timely medical care, they must sue both the system (government/health authorities) and their own doctors.

It is a very daunting prospect - but given the realities of health care in Canada - do patients have any other choice?

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