Kathleen Finlay
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Kathleen Finlay is founder and CEO of The Center for Patient Protection, a champion of safer, more transparent and compassionate care for patients and families. Its signature program, the campaign to make Patient Protection 1st, targets the epidemic of hospital harm that claims up to 500,000 patients in U.S. and Canadian hospitals every year and is the third leading cause of death in both countries.

Previously involved in public policy and capital markets regulation, Kathleen's career took a sudden and unexpected turn following the six-month hospitalization of her elderly mother. It was an ordeal that saw more medical errors inflicted on her at two hospitals than on any patient in the records of patient safety. That nightmare, followed by an experience with a stonewalling hospital culture of deny and defend, made Kathleen determined to play a role in changing a system that is too often lacking in transparency and accountability and leaves too many patients and families injured and devastated because of it.

A strong advocate for the rights of women in the workplace, in 2014 Kathleen created the Zero Now Campaign to end sexual harassment.

Kathleen is a frequent speaker and media commentator on topics related to healthcare, patient safety, ageism and women's issues in the workplace. She can be reached at kayefinlay@gmail.com.

Entries by Kathleen Finlay

It's Time For A Shakeup In Our Health-Care Complaints System

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 4:26 PM

You expect that casinos are going to be slanted in favour of the house. But you don't imagine those kind of odds when it comes to complaints about hospitals and health-care providers that may have caused avoidable medical or emotional harm.

In Ontario, every hospital is required to have a...

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Preventable Medical Error Is Canadian Healthcare's Silent Killer

(7) Comments | Posted October 24, 2015 | 9:39 AM

The wonders of the Canadian healthcare system are currently on display in two separate television series. In the six-part CBC program, and in a weekly installment on the Global Network, we see doctors and nurses performing heroic measures that sustain life and deliver comfort in a...

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Our Health-Care Systems Need More Compassion

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 7:24 PM

• A daughter, concerned about her elderly mother's deteriorating condition, begins to question the quality of her care at a major Toronto hospital. The hospital reacts by taking steps to have the daughter removed as her mother's power of attorney and demands immediate payment of an $18,000 bill. Her mother...

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What Canada Can Learn from the U.S. on Reporting Medical Errors

(4) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 9:30 AM

What if a highly credible study revealed that, because of safety failures among automobile makers, most drivers will be involved in an accident in their lifetime, often with devastating consequences. Shock? Public outrage? Politicians demanding action? All of the above would likely happen, and quickly.

But when the prestigious Institute...

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The U.S. Is More Vigilant About Patient Safety in Hospitals Than Canada

(6) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 9:30 AM

As of last Friday, sawing off the wrong limb became a "never" event in Canada. It's one of 15 incidents the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Health Quality Ontario say are preventable "using organizational checks and balances." It is the first never list in Canada for which there is...

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We Must End the Silence Surrounding Hospital Suicides

(1) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 1:17 PM

International Suicide Prevention Day came and went last week. But it's hard to know whether most hospitals noticed it, or how well they are doing in combating self-harm by their patients. How hospitals handle mental health issues can have serious consequences.

One winter night in 2004, Cynthia...

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Keep Ageism Out of the Hospital

(3) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 6:37 PM

A new Canadian study shows that age is a critical factor in the kind of treatment patients receive. According to the research, which involved patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries, "patients over 70 years of age experienced considerable delays between admission and surgery." Older patients also "experienced delays...

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Quiet Heroes Are Making Hospitals Safer

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 1:30 PM

Visit any major city in North America and you will quickly discover the link between cash and name recognition in healthcare. Some rich person gives a few million to an urban hospital and their name goes up on a wing. Recently, a generous $3 million donation by one...

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Taxpayers Should Stop Subsidizing Doctors' Liability Costs

(18) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 6:36 PM

The 50th anniversary this year of the Medicare and Medicaid systems in the United States has predictably prompted a good deal of reflection and even some celebration. They were milestones of healthcare advancement in that country to be sure. But much less reflection seems to happen with the...

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Canada's Healthcare System Should Be More Transparent Like the U.S.

(3) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 6:33 PM

Canadians and Americans buy and drive similar cars and trucks. They also suffer heart attacks and strokes. Sometimes, they need surgery. But while Canadians, like their American cousins, can read reviews on the safety, reliability and quality of a Ford or Jeep before they invest their hard-earned dollars, the same...

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We Must Address the Abuse of Anti-Psychotic Drugs in Hospitals

(2) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 6:25 PM

A government agency in Ontario has called for nursing homes in that province to re-evaluate their use of anti-psychotic medications like quetiapine (marketed under the brand name Seroquel).

Health Quality Ontario says more than 60 per cent of residents in some nursing homes are receiving Seroquel and other...

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Canada Needs a National Hospital Rating System

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 1:55 PM

A safe patient is an informed patient. In today's world, that means having the information we need to make informed healthcare choices. Nowhere is this more important than in the hospital setting.

In the United States, the move to make hospitals safer has spun a virtual cottage industry of rating systems...

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Three Ways to Help Your Family Navigate a Safer Hospital Experience

(1) Comments | Posted May 8, 2015 | 9:31 AM

One night several years ago, when my mother was in her fourth month of hospitalization and in critical condition, I noticed that she hadn't received her evening medications. It was getting late. The pills and open vials of medication had been sitting in the corridor outside her room for some...

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Our Family's Fifth Christmas Miracle

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 5:17 PM

This will be my mother's fifth Christmas since her life-altering injury and a hospitalization that produced a cascade of incidents and a record number of medical errors that left her many times at death's door.

That's five more years of enjoying her garden in all its seasons and smelling...

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Canadian Doctors Should Learn to Apologize

(10) Comments | Posted December 20, 2014 | 2:56 PM

Is it helpful to patients and families if hospitals and clinicians apologize when they make a serious error that leads to injury or death? That idea, which to most of us would have a pretty obvious answer, was explored the other day on CBC's The Current. There is...

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When Will Governments Get Tough on Sexual Harassment?

(3) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 5:35 PM

An important survey on sexual harassment in Canada conducted by veteran B.C. pollster Angus Reid confirms what countless women have discovered and many victims have told me: most employers don't take sexual harassment seriously. Investigations are often a sham, if they occur at all. This is just one...

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For True Reform, Ask Women What They Need To Feel Safe

(5) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 3:04 PM

In an ironic twist, former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi has single-handedly done more to bring attention to the scourge of sexual harassment than any public awareness campaign could ever do. Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has also performed an unexpected service in showing that women, even as...

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Eric Duncan's Death Shows the Gravity of Medical Errors

(4) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 1:40 PM

Thomas Eric Duncan, the patient who was sent home by the Texas hospital even while presenting with the early stages of the Ebola virus, has died.

Each day, families around the world face the tragedy of medical errors and hospital mistakes that end in death or extreme injury...

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Hospital Abuse of Anti-Psychotic Drugs Must Stop

(5) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 6:48 PM

A shocking CBC/Canadian Press investigation has again confirmed how powerful anti-psychotic drugs are being abused. This time, the news is about quetiapine, marketed under the brand name Seroquel, being given to female inmates in Canadian prisons.

The problem is not that the drug is being administered to...

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Why We Need To Speak Up For Safer Care in Hospitals

(1) Comments | Posted April 5, 2014 | 8:18 AM

Standing up for safer care after a hospital has inflicted harm is never easy for a family. In many cases, the patient does not get to be part of that discussion because the damage to them is severe and often fatal. Karl and Marlene Kollinger, the elderly couple...

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