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Abstract

This paper surveys the current state of medical malpractice law in Canada, along with current evidence on adverse events in Canadian hospitals, medical clinics, and long-term care facilities. Though there is currently no “burning platform” to reform Canadian medical malpractice law, the authors raise concerns about the law's failure to deter medical malpractice, as well as concerns about access to justice issues facing victims of medical malpractice. Federal and provincial governments have tried to promote patient safety through various prevention strategies--for example, through the creation of Health Quality Councils, the dissemination of information on best practices, and tighter regulation of private clinics. Although patient safety advocates often contend that the threat of medical malpractice claims may exacerbate problems in patient safety, there is no evidence to support this in the Canadian context. The authors contend that medical malpractice law could be made a more effective component in this drive to promote patient safety. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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