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"W5: The fight for medical information after patients die"

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ob_one

Specializes in ICU.

Thousands of mistakes are made every day by medical staff (docs, nursing, phlebotomy, radiology, etc...), the ones with fatal consequences usually end up in the media. This article is about a Canadian hospital and I'm surprised to hear that there is not more transparency there. In the States, a personal injury attorney would have subpoenaed the records and the mistake would be all over the news to help bias the case in favor of a big settlement.

notjustanurse

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry, PACU, Med-Surg. Has 9 years experience.

The details seem sketchy at best. This "Tom" seems to have diagnosed the patient as having a PE based on s/s that can result from many conditions. And we don't know if he is a doctor, nurse, or the janitor that passed by the room as they were treating the patient.

himilayaneyes

Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

This situation is a crying shame. Maybe the hospitals in Canada think that they don't owe the citizens there anything since they have socialized medicine...but their taxes pay for the hospitals. I agree that here in the States that would never have happened b/c a lawyer would've gotten all the records and the media would've been all over it. Also, it sounds like a PE...pain in leg (DVt)...then she became short of breath...classic sign of a PE...they should have done a CT of the chest. Her heart rate was rapid....treat the underlying cause...they couldn't get a blood pressure...what idiot gives verapamil when we can't even get a bp. I feel so sorry for this family. I hope Canada changes the laws so that more families can get the justice they deserve. And the nurses thinking the patient had a GI bleed and the doc giving Lovenox anyway is just another reason that docs should take nurse opinions into consideration (at least Heparin has an antidote).

Edited by himilayaneyes

Scarlette Wings

Specializes in M/S, ICU, ICP. Has 27 years experience.

wow. i am so sorry for both of these families. i do know that it seems that doctors have an unspoken rule to cover for one another and never speak ill of another physician under the premise that "except for the grace of god there go i."

doctors are human, as are all members of the healthcare field. no matter how hard one tries or how much they care, we all make mistakes. until we can separate the person from the behavior or act and investigate the occurrence itself we all suffer. nurses are often caught in the web of horizontal violence. too quick to undermine one another and "eating their young" but to the opposite extreme, physicians will turn a deaf ear when they hear about another physicians indiscretion or outright error.

one poster mentioned the idea of a conspiracy theory and in a way that is correct. the higher up the totem pole that medical people are and the longer and more in-depth the education then the more it seems like they turn their head. if in house incident reporting could truly be non-threatening then i think it would be a better method of problem solving. not that it is not important to track individuals in case of true incompetence, but you know what i mean.

This situation is a crying shame. Maybe the hospitals in Canada think that they don't owe the citizens there anything since they have socialized medicine...but their taxes pay for the hospitals. I agree that here in the States that would never have happened b/c a lawyer would've gotten all the records and the media would've been all over it. Also, it sounds like a PE...pain in leg (DVt)...then she became short of breath...classic sign of a PE...they should have done a CT of the chest. Her heart rate was rapid....treat the underlying cause...they couldn't get a blood pressure...what idiot gives verapamil when we can't even get a bp. I feel so sorry for this family. I hope Canada changes the laws so that more families can get the justice they deserve. And the nurses thinking the patient had a GI bleed and the doc giving Lovenox anyway is just another reason that docs should take nurse opinions into consideration (at least Heparin has an antidote).

The doc saw a rapid heart rate and no BP, he gave the verapamil to slow down the heart rate enough to diagnose the underlying rythm and maybe get a blood pressure back. Was he wrong? Yeah, add a pressor, fluids first. She was obviously dehydrated per the history.. Get the bp up unless you want a dead pt. with a perfect rythm. We don't know that he did not do this. He may have done everything he should have done first, and only went with the Verapamil when basic types of resusitation failed. You have a pt. without a BP, would you decide to send them to CAT scan? How do you treat the possible/probable underlying cause without a confirming test that your pt. is too unstable to undergo? If he had heparized this pt. and it turned out she was having a femoral aneurysm (they DO happen) how would you react then? Stuff happens so fast in the ER and I never trust 1 person's views, and especially anonymous eyewitnesses. We have no assurance that he was qualified to make those judgements. He could have been an EMT for all we know.

W5: The fight for medical information after patients die - CTV News

It sounds a little bit too much like a conspiracy theory to me, but if it is not, this is scary. I would think that this doctor would have lost his license a long ago. Does this article even make any sense?

Don't rely on newscasts to have true informaton about anything. They go half-cocked all the time.

The witnesses statement that a racing heartbeat and low blood pressure are "definite signs of a pulmonary embolus" should clue you as to the amount of research they do.

However, the real point of the story is about the families frustration about obtaining medical records. But no, they really are not entitled to "internal documents" such as any incident reports as may have been filed.

The details seem sketchy at best. This "Tom" seems to have diagnosed the patient as having a PE based on s/s that can result from many conditions. And we don't know if he is a doctor, nurse, or the janitor that passed by the room as they were treating the patient.

Whie I stand by my earlier posts, giving a pt. with a GI bleed (the second case) Lovenox is indefensible. But somehow I really doubt that this Dr. went in and gave it himself after EVERY nurse in that ER refused. There are just so many things wrong with this article as to raise a reasonable doubt.

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

Oh for the love of dog. Canada has universal healthcare which is completely different from "socialized medicine".

I watched the first ten minutes of W5 and gave up. The family knows what they know and don't want to hear anything else.

Canadians in general just aren't as litigation happy as Americans.