Welcome to the website dedicated to exposing the hospital that inflicted a record number of medical errors on a patient –and the culture of deception and cover-up that allowed it to happen. First, some BREAKING NEWS
Million Dollar Donation Shows Two-Levels of Care
Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) spilled much ink in recent weeks boasting about the million dollar donation it received from housing magnate Peter Gilgan. He said the donation was in response to the “excellent” care he and his friends had received. Unfortunately, the ordinary patient, and especially the elderly, may not be so lucky. It’s no surprise that the rich and powerful get a better level of care at MAHC.
As revealed on these pages more than a year ago, when my mother was a patient there for three months, and subjected to more than 4,000 medical errors of all kinds and a level of neglect that placed her life at risk on a daily basis, I was told by a nursing supervisor that she would be receiving a much better standard of care if she were the mother of a prominent person or a politician.
Basking in the glow of Mr. Gilgan’s philanthropy has no doubt been a pleasant experience for MAHC’s management and board, who have otherwise been confronted by the fact that the hospital’s conduct as documented on this site has made it a world-wide template for how not to treat a patient and family. No doubt it has also been a happy time for Mr. Gilgan, whose generosity is impressive.
Unfortunately, it does nothing to change the fact that patients and families are vulnerable when they are placed in a culture like MAHC’s that won’t own up to its mistakes and tries to cover them up with threats and lies.
More on the topic of money: If MAHC had addressed the problems with my mother’s care in an honest and forthright manner, instead of hiring one of the most high-priced law firms in Canada to threaten my family with legal action, it might have saved close to $100,000. That would have been enough to hire back some of the staff it laid off.
The Patient Experience You Never Want to Have
The video above says it all.
Record number of medical errors
Muskoka Algonguin Healthcare (MAHC), the Canadian hospital now infamous around the world for subjecting an 89-year-old brain-injured patient to a record number of medical errors and incidents of neglect has become the hospital template for how not to treat a patient and family. On top of the titanic scale of errors committed (but never recorded), MAHC denied our mother services and equipment necessary to her proper care and recovery, left her severely malnourished and afflicted with painful pressure ulcers that were never adequately treated and with the full expectation that her demise would be “imminent,” as one of the hospital’s leading doctors predicted.
Hospital claims care “appropriate”
Not content with that, MAHC magnified the sting of its actions by claiming the patient’s care was “appropriate” and that no medication errors ever occurred. It refused to answer the family’s detailed questions about specific breakdowns in care and then used scarce healthcare dollars to hire one of the most expensive law firms in Canada to threaten the family with legal action. This is not really the way the healthcare system is supposed to work, and certainly not the Canadian model that was once said to be the envy of the world.
Threat of legal action against family attracts ire of CCLA
MAHC backed away from commencing defamation proceedings — including the threat to obtain an injunction against the family, along with a demand that all content on this website and video be permanently removed — only after the Canadian Civil Liberties Association intervened, insisting that the hospital was improperly attempting to “muzzle” criticism with the use of public funds. We have never threatened legal action and are not represented by a lawyer.
The hospital even refused the family’s offers to have our concerns addressed through mediation and rejected our proposal that an independent expert conduct a clinical review of our mother’s hospital care. Even now, as the hospital’s case collapses around it with some of its own professionals having gone on the record refuting its key claims, MAHC continues to rebuff the family’s proposals for a principled resolution.
Failed to follow safety guidelines
Recently a glimpse into the hospital’s questionable clinical judgment was revealed in statements by some MAHC clinicians to a professional disciplinary body. They now admit the hospital did not follow world-recognized evidence-based recommendations for the safe preparation and administration of medication by an enteral tube. Their reason? They say they didn’t have to because these were only recommendations and were “voluntary.”
Mishandling at every level of care and family interaction
At almost every stage — from the first day of our mother’s admission, when medication that had been frequently implicated in adverse incidents and sudden death was administered against the family’s instructions, to the present, some three years later, when the same high-priced lawyers continue to warn that the hospital may still sue the family someday in the future — MAHC botched both its obligations to deliver safe care and its opportunity to address the family’s concerns in good faith and in a transparent and accountable fashion. In so doing, it set upon a course that would inevitably turn an already bad situation into a complete disaster with far-reaching implications for its reputation and those who are supposed to be protecting it.
Allegations manufactured to discredit family
Along the way, some of its clinical team displayed such resentment over the family’s constant interventions to save our mother’s life that a dark cloud of hostility followed much of their interactions with us. One doctor fabricated numerous untruthful allegations about the family in the chart in an effort to discredit us, including a claim that improper physical force was used against her. After months of stonewalling, she finally admitted that no such incident ever occurred. It was the same doctor who launched into a screaming tirade at a shocked family within seconds of telling us our mother had developed pneumonia, shouting (as she later wrote in the chart) “I don’t even like to look after your mother because of you.” She then announced that our mother was unlikely to live.
Reasonable approach to issues could have avoided crisis
Best practices around the world wisely counsel hospitals to disclose harm and medical errors to patients and families, to apologize for those incidents and to show that what they have learned as a result will make other patients safer. MAHC could have done that, and the family would have preferred that it be done, in private. No website or video would ever have been made necessary, nor would there have been cause to share with the public, healthcare leaders and other clinicians this scrupulously documented chronicle of breakdowns in care and bad faith in order to effect change. MAHC would have had no need to hire costly lawyers that put yet more pressure on the hospital’s budget. No concerns would have been sounded about whether other patients at MAHC may have been harmed or placed at needless risk because of similar failures. Instead, by its stonewalling and intransigence, MAHC has ensured that healthcare institutions and clinicians around the world have access to this compelling case study in what can happen when a healthcare facility refuses to do the right thing — over and over again.
Inside these pages you will find more about the hospital ordeal of this vulnerable elderly patient at MAHC, and her family’s journey through that nightmare with her.
A hope that change will come from suffering
Nothing can be done to take away the otherwise horrific pain and suffering that was inflicted on a patient whose condition called out for the highest standard of care, but too often received the exact opposite, or the distress the hospital inflicted on a family that raised inconvenient questions about the quality of that care. But we can, by making others aware of this story, help to protect patients in the future by giving hospitals reason to think twice about engaging in conduct that cannot be explained or defended, along with an awareness of the repercussions that can follow in the public arena when they behave badly.
We also hope this shocking cascade of errors and harm will persuade other patients and families of the need for changes in healthcare practices. Prominent among these are reforms that would make it a crime for hospitals to mislead about the harm they cause and then attempt to cover it up with more lies and legal intimidation.
No family should ever have to fear injury being inflicted on a loved one in a hospital day after day or encounter healthcare decision-makers who pronounce themselves satisfied and simply walk away from a family’s concerns.
Too many around the world have been confronted with that nightmare. They, and the memory of their loved ones who so many seek to honour by the pursuit of safer healthcare, deserve better.
So did our mother.
Time since MAHC CEO Natalie Bubela announced this patient received "appropriate care" and declared the matter closed:
1905 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, 59 seconds ago