As many as 24,000 Canadians die of preventable medical errors at Canadian hospitals each year. Health professionals are among the most ethically grounded people on Earth. You'd be hard put to find a doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, a social worker or a pharmacist who doesn't care about making mistakes that can harm and even kill patients. And yet, people on my side of the gurney have lagged behind -- for example, the airline and nuclear industries -- at creating a culture of safety.
On October 12, WCBA holds a live townhall meeting at which we'll examine the root causes of medical errors and what to do about them. Joining me on stage to help explore this pressing problem in health care is an illustrious panel of experts at the forefront of making patient safety one of health care's top priorities:
* Dr. Barry McLellan. Dr. McLellan is the President and CEO of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. As the CEO of one of Canada's most respected teaching hospitals, McLellan has direct responsibility over 10,000 staff and physicians and 1200 beds. Earlier this year, he was lead investigator on the team that reported on surgical and pathology issues at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, Leamington District Memorial Hospital and Windsor Regional Hospital.
* Dr. Kaveh Shojania: Dr. Shojania is Director of the Centre for Patient Safety at the University of Toronto. He is an internist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and a world authority on patient safety. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. His research focuses on identifying evidence-based patient safety strategies. He has twice had the honor of delivering invited presentations on patient safety to the prestigious US Institute of Medicine, which in 1999 published the seminal work on patient safety entitled 'To Err is Human'. He is the author of Internal Bleeding - The Truth Behind America's Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes.
* Lianne Jeffs, RN, MSc, PhD. Dr. Jeffs is the Director of Nursing/Clinical Research and a Scientist at the Keenan Research Institute of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. She is the winner of an Early Nurse Research Award at Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. In May 2010, Dr. Jeffs was awarded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Rising Star Award for her work on patient safety. Her research interests include studying how hospitals can respond to issues involving patient safety. She was co-principal investigator of a province-wide study looking at near misses - errors that could have but fortunately did not lead to serious patient injuries.
* Pam Marshall, RN, LLB, LM. Ms. Marshall is a registered nurse and lawyer. She received her nursing training from the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing and her law degree and her Masters of Law in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. As Executive Director of Patient Relations and Legal Affairs for the Scarborough Hospital, Ms. Marshall promotes positive relations amongst staff, visitors, patients and their families. She is involved in the follow-up processes after critical events and works with families, patients and health care providers to ensure ongoing communication and early intervention. She is the author of a number of articles on using mediation and other dispute resolution techniques following critical incidents and patient complaints.
With a panel of experts like that, I'm really looking forward to the townhall!