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CCLA Raps Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare

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Canadian Civil Liberties Association raps Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare over threat to sue family for defamation; warns of dangers of stifling criticism and discussion about the quality of healthcare.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has taken an important, and perhaps ground breaking, step in defending the right of citizens to criticize publicly-funded hospitals. It also issued a strong rebuke to MAHC following its threat to commence defamation proceedings against a family for publishing statements critical of their mother’s care.

In the letter to MAHC’s external legal counsel, the CCLA noted:

Canadians have a deep-seated interest in ensuring that our publicly-funded hospitals are providing high-quality medical care.

It the warned: 

The resources of a publicly-funded institution should be used to engage with critics, not to muzzle them.

The letter continues:

The CCLA is deeply concerned about MAHC’s behaviour and the implications for freedom of expression and the right to criticize public institutions.

The CCLA urged MAHC to “reconsider its course of action.”

The publication of the website Epidemic of Errors and related YouTube video occurred because of MAHC’s refusal to answer questions for more than two years involving medical errors and neglect that occurred during their elderly mother’s three-month hospitalization that were so serious that her chart noted that her demise was “imminent” just prior to being discharged home.

The family has repeatedly proposed to MAHC’s board that it engage with them in a mediated or facilitated process to address their concerns or, in the alternative, that MAHC appoint a respected independent medical consultant to conduct a clinical review of their mother’s care.

MAHC has refused all offers. The hospital has not responded to the CCLA’s letter.

The family is grateful to the CCLA for the position it has taken on this matter, which is consistent with its long-standing tradition of defending principles of freedom, justice and democracy in Canadian society. 

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