Rates of avoidable complications after surgery, such as lung clots, are 90 per cent higher than the OECD average. (Black Press File Photo)

Canadian patients 90% more likely to face avoidable post-surgery complications: report

New numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information show dismal stats for patient safety

Canadian patients are facing some alarming issues when it comes to patient safety care, including childbirth trauma, avoidable post-surgery complications and the rate of foreign objects behind left behind after surgery.

According to a new report issued by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), several parts of Canada’s health care system are failing when it comes to patient safety when compared with 30 other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

VIDEO: Surgical objects left in patients on the rise in Canada, data shows

“While Canada’s health care systems are often admired, the international comparisons show that there is room for improvement. We are lagging behind OECD countries in areas of patient safety,” said Tracy Johnson, director of Health System Analysis and Emerging Issues and CIHI in a statement. “These are serious issues that are often preventable, and improving our performance in these areas will result in safer care for patients.”

According to the report, Canadian patients are twice as likely to experience tears during vaginal childbirth than other OECD countries, and that these numbers are not improving.

Alarmingly, the chances of patients suffering from avoidable post-surgery complications after surgery, such as lung clots, are 90 per cent higher than the OECD average.

ALSO READ: B.C. has highest C-section rate in Canada

Additionally, the rate of foreign objects being left behind in patents after surgery increased by 14 per cent in Canada over five years. Between 2016 and 2018, a total of 553 objects including sponges and surgical instruments were left in Canadian patients.

“These statistics only show part of the story. Each of these numbers represents a person, a family, a life,” said Linda Hughes, co-chair of Patients for Patient Safety Canada. “Regardless of how we do in comparison to other nations, we must accept that we face a crisis of preventable harm in Canada’s health care system and that we must act together to ensure that every patient is safe.”

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