On March 21, the following statement was released jointly by me and Normand Rinfret, Interim Director General and CEO of the McGill University Health Centre:
The headline in the March 15 Gazette article, “MUHC and Jewish General Hospital errors killed at least 10 people in 2011,” is sensational and harmful to the value we strive for.
Our hospitals are at the forefront in the public reporting of incidents and accidents; to that end we have worked hard to instill an open culture of reporting any and all such events. To imply that our hospitals kill people tarnishes the reputations of thousands of healthcare workers who dedicate their careers to caring for our patients and their families with the highest degree of safety and as well as our objective to improve quality care.
Consistent and rigorous reporting is the cornerstone of quality improvement, patient safety and learning. It is a shared voluntary responsibility and we are actively engaged in encouraging our staff to report and to be involved in reviewing processes as well as proposing improvements to the quality of our patient care. This engagement goes beyond our people to our patients and their families and we encourage dialogue that allows us to be collectively involved in accountability, improvement, and quality assurance practices.
In order for us to continue to improve the quality of our patient care, we need our people to continue to report. We know it is not a reductive exercise in numbers – our organizations invest as much energy into learning from the “near-misses” as they do from the events that touch the patient, and we want to ensure that each establishment improves against its own best practice. The registry is not meant for comparison purposes; there are significant differences between hospitals in reporting cultures, complexity of care and volumes that make comparisons meaningless. Sensational headlines in this regard do not enhance our efforts to reinforce this culture of reporting in our institutions, which is vital to improving patient care.
Healthcare professionals work at our hospitals in order to provide the best care possible to our patients. We commend our employees for reporting incidents and accidents and for helping the JGH and the MUHC become safer hospitals for all.