My experience in hospital is one of the unreported and preventable cases of medical error. I believe that what happened to me would probably not have occurred if we had a culture of accountability in our province's health care system.
In 2008, I went to the hospital with appendicitis, but after too long of a delay in ER, my appendix ruptured. Because of a series of errors in diagnosis, care and decision-making, and because of systemic weaknesses in the hospital, I did not receive surgery for over 5 months, and had to switch hospitals to get it done.
This wait time resulted in very serious acute complications, which put my life at risk, and then lingering chronic complications which kept me out of work for over two years.
I'm not alone: one of my ER doctors has told me that it has happened to someone else since and that they are continuing to delay appendix surgery, despite the risk. They are doing this to women in particular, because women are more challenging to diagnose.
People say things happen for a reason. I've spent the last two years finding out some of the reasons why this happened, and the #1 solution I think we have is to give the Ontario Ombudsman the power to investigate patient complaints.
But that's just one step. There is so much left to be done. Many patients and their families are isolated in pain and grief. And part of what we need to do is to unite for a common cause and to support each other.
I am passionate about patient rights and believe strongly that safer health care is in the public interest. We all have our own stories. If you'd like to share yours with me privately, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you'd like to help us get organized for change, I am keen to hear from you. :)
Hope heals, eh?