Our System Does More to Protect Doctors Than Patients They’ve Harmed

Kathleen Finlay

Canadians who experience medical harm at the hands of the health-care system they pay for are often chagrined to learn that, if they pursue their legal remedies in court, they are also footing the bill to defend the very physicians they claim have harmed them. Now it seems that Canadian taxpayers have been victimized by this system, too.

… For decades, provincial governments have been funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the CMPA under the guise that they were protecting Canadians by helping to pay for physicians’ liability insurance. Since 1987, the bill paid by Ontario taxpayers to the CMPA has soared by 3,200 per cent. Not surprisingly, that fund now has a war chest of more than $3 billion. It is that kind of clout that allows the CMPA to pursue a “scorched earth” policy against victims of medical errors, where, according to some critics, it would prefer to spend five times the amount of a claim to defend a case rather than settle.

… Making organizations like the CMPA rich should not be the goal, or result, of provincial government policy. Protecting patients, and healing those physically and emotionally injured by the health-care system, like Allison and so many others, should be.

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