NDP MP Richard Cannings presented Penticton resident Teri McGrath’s petition on medical errors in Canada to the House of Commons on June 18. (Facebook)

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

A retired nurse living in Penticton has been successful in getting her message about Canada’s high rate of deadly medical errors to the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Teri McGrath started an online petition in March with the hopes of drawing attention to the issue and what she considers an unfair system by which patients claim compensation.

READ MORE: Penticton woman hopes to bring attention to high number of medical errors in Canada

On Tuesday morning, South Okanagan-West Kootenay NDP MP Richard Cannings presented the petition, which received 844 signatures by its June 13 deadline, to the House of Commons.

Cannings read from McGrath’s research that revealed medical errors kill 30,000 Canadians each year and are the third leading cause of death in the country. The process to obtain compensation for those errors is difficult because millions of taxpayer dollars are used to fight patient claims.

“The only compensation they have is tort law, which ties up our courts and is financially and emotionally devastating. All provincial governments transfer millions of taxpayers dollars to the (Canadian) Medical Protective Association to finance lawyers to fight these claims from patients. Because of this unfair advantage, only two per cent of patient lawsuits are successful,” he said.

The petition asks the government to consider implementing a no-fault system for compensation.

In Canada and a majority of other countries, compensation for medical injury is based on the tort system where the injured patient must take legal action to prove injury, negligence or cause.

READ MORE: Man wins $888,000 from B.C. doctor for medication error that left him ‘totally disabled’

Under a no-fault compensation system, an expert panel evaluates whether the injury was caused by a preventable medical error. The patient does not have to go to court or prove negligence to be eligible for compensation.

Countries such as New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, France and some U.S. states have the system.

McGrath said the petition is just the first step. But she said she is encouraged that the public responded with so many signatures — 540 signatures came from people residing in British Columbia.

“It is now up to the public to take it to the next level. There are several associations and ministries who will get this information and it remains to be seen if they act on any of it. Action is the last step needed to enhance our health care service and will restore compassion, empathy and trust,” she said.

The petition is closed but is available to read online on the Parliament of Canada website.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN | Creating a “community of practice” inspires

Art Matters by columnist Sarah Zimmerman

Hockey puck with nails found at Terrace Sportsplex Arena

City believes it has already caused $4,000 of damage

Kitselas First Nation receives $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

Terrace Skating Club takes home 24 medals from regional championships

Skaters claim top spot for fifth year in a row

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read