Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

External review

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Arlene Wilgosh, president of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, says she is not entirely closed to the idea of hiring independent experts when critical incidents in Winnipeg hospitals need to be examined. But, Ms. Wilgosh says, she hasn't seen any compelling reason to go that way yet.

The WRHA's process for looking at incidents and errors that harm patients intends to reveal weaknesses in processes or care to prevent a recurrence. But patients or their families have a right to know precisely the factors that led to incidents, and must feel the review and its conclusions was entirely free of bias. That is a tough sell when the WRHA hands the job to those it employs or is associated with, especially as the full report is not given to the patient.

Ms. Wilgosh stumbled badly in response to the recent deaths of two men immediately after they were sent home from the Grace Hospital's ER in cabs, in bone-chilling weather. She and Health Minister Erin Selby focused on the role of the cabbies, saying they need to ensure patients get into their homes. It is little wonder Winnipeggers are calling for outside experts to review the care and decisions made in such occasions. The WRHA needs to hand off investigations of critical incidents to people outside its influence.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2014 A8

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