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Rates of avoidable complications after some surgeries higher in Canada: report

Last Updated Nov 7, 2019 at 7:15 am PST

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Summary

The Canadian Institute for Health Information's study found rates of avoidable complications after some surgeries high

The Institute's Tracy Johnson says there are multiple areas where improvement is needed

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –¬†We’ve all heard nightmare stories about complications after surgery, but how do Canadian hospitals compare with other countries? A new report finds there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Rates of avoidable complications after hip or knee surgeries, like lung clots, are 90 per cent higher here than in other developed countries. That’s coming from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which also found an increase in foreign objects left inside patients after surgeries.

The Institute’s Tracy Johnson says there are multiple areas where improvement is needed.

“When we look at things like blood clots after hip and knee surgery, we are higher than the OECD average for those as well. And for obstetrical tears during childbirth, whether instruments are used or not, we’re about twice as high as the OECD average.”

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic group with over 30 member countries, of which Canada is one.

Sandi Kossey with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute says it’s important to identify why these mistakes are happening, and why we don’t stack up.

“Yes, the numbers are important, but what’s more important is that something is being done about these numbers. So we need to continue to focus improvements on reducing this preventable harm in all health care institutions across the country,” she says.

“Your focus is on saving that person and meeting that crisis in whichever way it is, and things happen during that. What we know is patient safety is complicated. People don’t go to work to make mistakes.”