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About Epidemic of Errors

To err is human; to cover up is unforgivable; and to fail to learn is inexcusable.

Sir Liam Donaldson, M.D.  

Few events in the life of a family are as upheaving as the sudden traumatic injury of a loved one.  This is the story of a second trauma inflicted on our (then) 89-year-old mother by Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC).  

There, the effects of 4,200 medication errorsneglect at every level of her care and clinical supervision and refusal to provide needed services compromised her recovery, predisposed her to further complications and set her on a downward spiral. The consequences of these failures speak for themselves. Three months later, our mother was discharged in a state of life-threatening severe malnutrition, afflicted by painful skin breakdowns and facing what the hospital declared to be the “palliative phase of her life.” These conditions were never disclosed to the family. 

Breakdowns and failures from first day to last

From the first day of her arrival at MAHC, when she was given heavily sedating medication against the family’s wishes and without our consent, to the last — 78 days later — when she was discharged in a state of severe malnutrition along with an open Stage II pressure ulcer, both of which were concealed from the family, and some 4,200 medication errors in between, our mother’s health and recovery were compromised at every level of her care. Our findings are based on a comprehensive and painstaking examination of the full medical record, extensive review of relevant literature, expert clinical consultations, including with one of Canada’s foremost medical ethicists, and direct observation at the time many incidents occurred.

Repeated references to our mother’s advanced age, the high costs of her hospital care and our so-called unrealistic expectations for her recovery followed us around MAHC like an ominous Greek chorus.  Our expressions of concern about the care she was receiving were often met with resentment by some members of the clinical team.  We felt the spectre of ageism quickly reaching into her treatment, and in decisions about its quality and cost.

Lack of accountability and cover-up at MAHC raise fears about safety of other patients

Despite overwhelming evidence of breakdowns in care and failure to observe both best practices and recommended clinical protocols for patient safety, and documentation in the chart attesting to life-threatening complications in our mother’s condition, Natalie Bubela, MAHC’s CEO, has consistently maintained:

So there is no misunderstanding, your mother received appropriate care while she was a patient at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. 

This website should never have been necessary.  But it was made necessary by the persistent refusal of MAHC at its highest levels to explain its actions, to hold itself accountable for their outcomes and by the risks posed to other patients by similar breakdowns and failures.  Transparency and accountability, when disconnected from the performance of any organization, is a perilous prospect.  We are determined to have these principles restored and respected at MAHC.  

We believe the avoidable consequences inflicted on our mother require nothing less.

Follow the journey as our quest for answers and safer patient care unfolds. 

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