On March 14, 2020, the Premier of Quebec declared a state of health emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, various coercive measures have been adopted to deal with the outbreak throughout the province and across the country.
In a 2016 report, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reported that one (1) in eighteen (18) patients is a victim of medical error in Canada.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing and the health care system is overheating, the question arises: is COVID-19 contributing to an increase in medical errors?
COVID-19 and medical errors
At this time, we are in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19, and most hospitals in Montreal, the North Shore and the South Shore are full.
It is important to know that overcrowding in hospitals is dangerous for patient care. CBC expands on this in its article: Quebec’s health network approaching critical lack of beds for COVID-19 patients.
This overcrowding forces medical staff to work longer than expected. Physicians, technicians, orderlies and administrative staff—everyone has to work harder to try to control the situation and provide the required care to the ever-growing number of patients.
Overcrowding in hospitals also eventually leads to burnout among health care staff, as mentioned by Angela MacKenzie and Matt Gilmour in their article: Everyone is exhausted and burnt.
As health care workers try to recover physically and emotionally from the first wave of the pandemic, they must immediately roll up their sleeves to cope with the second wave of COVID-19, which is still showing no signs of slowing down.
This phenomenon contributes to an increased risk of medical errors, as it forces overworked staff to treat patients in unconventional locations, such as hospital hallways and even bathrooms, increasing the risk of infection or misdiagnosis.
COVID-19 and medical errors: possible recourses
When a medical error occurs, the blame may be as much on the doctor, nurse or other health care staff member. As in any liability case, it is necessary to prove the causal link between the malpractice and the damage suffered in order to pursue legal action.
Cases involving medical malpractice are typically quite complex to handle and often require the expertise of a law firm that offers medical liability legal services.
Depending on the case, legal proceedings can be either criminal, civil or administrative. There are many things to know if you believe you were a victim of medical malpractice and want to file a lawsuit. Contact a health law firm for more information on the possible steps to be taken based on your particular case.
The better you are supported in your case, the greater your chances of obtaining compensation for the damages caused.
Medical errors: why you need to act fast
Hundreds of people in Quebec are victims of medical errors every year. Given the current situation, it would appear that the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to an increase in the number of medical errors.
If you believe that you have suffered harm as a result of a medical error, take action immediately; you have a maximum of three years to file a lawsuit following the discovery of a medical error.
Our lawyers are all specialized with this type of procedure and can assist you.
To learn more about the world of health law, visit the blog section of our website. We post useful articles on a regular basis.