Medical malpractice is a complex issue in Calgary and throughout Canada, not just because cases of potential malpractice involve both medical and legal entanglements that require specialized knowledge to sort out. In Canada, much of the legal defence provided to medical professionals comes in part from provincial taxpayers through the Canadian Medical Protective Association or CMPA, which provides legal services to doctors, institutions, and others in the medical community who face medical malpractice lawsuits.
What this means is that the average citizen is helping to protect medical professionals who may be responsible for committing serious errors through negligence. While most in the medical community maintain very high standards and do their best for their patients each and every time, there are serious errors made that can have dramatic repercussions for the patients involved. The idea that those responsible for these injuries can depend on taxpayer funds to shield them from the professional and financial consequences is, for many, understandably distasteful.
A recent article in the Toronto Star argues that it’s time to ditch the CMPA and the complex model of medical malpractice defence payments and to move to a system that uses a single administrative board to review medical malpractice claims, similar to the way worker’s compensation cases are currently handled. According to the opinion of the author, a no-fault finding that provides compensation to medical malpractice victims would be best for taxpayers, for patients, and for the medical community.
We don’t entirely agree.
Though the recommendation made in the article would eliminate the higher costs of medical malpractice defence that taxpayers currently chip into, a government-run administrative board would still necessarily be taxpayer funded. The no-fault findings would also limit the efficacy of medical malpractice claims in making sure medical professionals adhere to best practice guidelines, as they would face virtually no repercussions for their negligence. Compensation to victims also tends to be far more limited in systems with this setup—a fact acknowledged in the Star article—making it more difficult for those suffering long-term and chronic effects to truly be made whole.
We agree that the current system might not be working best for anyone, including both the medical community and the patients they serve in Calgary and throughout Canada. Placing medical malpractice decisions in the hands of a government board will limit the use of more knowledgeable advocates for both patients and physicians, though, and will remove the punitive elements of medical malpractice cases that often make it worthwhile for institutions and professionals to adhere to appropriate regulations.
Contact a Calgary Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you or a family member has been serious injured due to a medical professional’s error, it is in your best interest to contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP help malpractice victims like you every day—contact us now and get the help you deserve.