Information about psych ward suicide hidden from family

A man who was under “suicide watch” in Ontario was able to hang himself at the hospital where he was being treated. Ten days before he died, the 20-year-old man was admitted to the psychiatric ward of Brampton Civic Hospital. The man had previously stabbed himself and told his father that he needed help and was not in control of his actions.

Since losing his son, the deceased man’s father has not been able to learn all of the details that led up to the suicide. Information about the decedent’s care that could possibly be used as evidence in a wrongful death claim has been placed under the Quality of Care Information Protection Act. Since the act was signed into law in 2004, it apparently has precedence over the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and any other acts.

When QCIPA was first written, it was promoted as a way to give health care workers the freedom to talk publicly about medical errors without sacrificing patients’ privacy. Instead, many people believe that the act has given hospitals the legal right to keep vital information hidden from family members of sick or deceased patients.

A family who has lost a loved one in a similar way may decide to file a wrongful death claim against the medical professionals who were responsible for the patient’s care. A lawyer might assist the family in building their claim by gathering evidence that proves that the doctors, nurses or health care facility acted negligently. If information is being withheld, the lawyer could work to obtain the information using all of available legal avenues.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator, “Brampton hospital puts a lid on psych ward suicide,” Jane Gerster, July 07, 2014

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