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MAHC’s Story Unravels Even More

Once again, information from inside Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare contradicts its long-standing official position.  For more than two years, the hospital has claimed that its pharmacy conducted reviews of our mother’s medication regimen on three separate occasions while she was a patient.  It used those “reviews” to support its assertion that our mother received appropriate care and that no medication errors occurred.  We now learn from those with knowledge of the facts that no such reviews were ever conducted by MAHC’s pharmacy. 

A medication regimen review (MMR) involves an extensive protocol for examining the appropriateness of medication and whether any irregularities or unnecessary risks have occurred.  In the United States, where in many respects the healthcare system, and especially its Medicare and Medicaid programs, offer much greater protections to the vulnerable elderly than does Canada’s, MMR’s are a required procedure for patients in federally-funded facilities.  Our mother’s age and high-risk condition, the number of active medical problems she had been diagnosed with, her malnourished state, the medications she had been prescribed and length of time she had been hospitalized all pointed to the advisability of having such a review, which was readily within the hospital’s ability to conduct.  We believe it might have identified, and prevented, many of the more than 4,200 medication errors and other irregularities that we have since discovered. Like other services that would have assisted with her care and recovery, this safeguard was never provided by MAHC as well.

MAHC has consistently relied upon its pharmacy’s involvement to support the conclusion of its “review” that nothing wrong or irregular occurred in our mother’s medication.  Indeed, the hospital claimed:

Finally, there were three requests for a pharmacist review of  __________ mediation [sic] regime during the course of her hospitalization. A review was completed each time, as requested. There are no medication error incident reports on file….

In a later formal submission, MAHC’s lawyers asserted that our findings regarding medication errors are not consistent with “a review undertaken by senior pharmacy and nursing staff in relation to medication administration practices.

This is the second revelation that is beginning to blow MAHC’s claims apart.  Recently, sources within MAHC also revealed that the hospital did not follow globally recognized best practices for the preparation and administration of medication via an enteral tube.  MAHC officials have persistently refused to respond to our requests that the hospital confirm or deny that it followed these practices.

But this latest information, which could not be more clear, knocks that leg right out from under the hospital’s already shaky claim.  The pharmacy, according to those close to the matter “was not aware of or involved in” the hospital’s review.  That directly contradicts what MAHC, its senior clinical staff and lawyers have long maintained. 

It’s not exactly the best position for a hospital to put itself in, when ethics, honesty and transparency are the standards by which it is expected to operate and  patient safety requires that it does.


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