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

Keep Ageism Out of the Hospital

(3) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 5:37 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 | 12:30 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 | 5:36 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 | 5:33 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 | 5:25 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 | 12:55 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 | 8:31 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 | 4:17 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 | 1:56 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 | 4:35 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 | 2:04 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 | 12:40 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 | 5:48 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 | 7:18 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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Does Sunnybrook Care More About Quality of Death Than Quality of Life?

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 2:06 PM

Should a hospital really have something called a "Quality Dying Initiative?" Apparently, Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre thinks so. And because it is Canada's largest teaching hospital, what it does carries considerable weight with hospitals across the country.

The program, which came to light recently as part of

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Hospitals Need More Common Sense, Not More Money

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 2:22 PM

As part of The Globe and Mail's series on the changing healthcare landscape as seen through the eyes of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a recent article focused on the idea of redesigning hospitals to enhance patient safety and comfort. While some steps in that direction could prove positive,...

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How My Elderly Mother Survived Canada's Botched Healthcare System

(39) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 11:19 AM

Three years ago, on a crisp November morning, my mother fell down a long flight of stairs in her home. I didn't know at the time that her life, and mine, were also about to descend into a dark and often agonizing journey through Canada's healthcare system, or that I...

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Hospitals Can Use Your Tax Dollars to Shut You Up

(10) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 11:08 AM

In Ontario, cancer patients are being denied treatment because the provincial health insurance plan won't cover a drug that could prolong their lives. Some claim the high cost of the medication is the main reason the government won't approve its use. But in the wake of the failed...

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When Hospitals Do More Harm Than Good

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2013 | 2:12 PM

There is a medical emergency rolling across the land and into its hospital rooms. No drug is available to cure it, and it can be as lethal as any superbug. It is the epidemic of hospital medical errors that is literally killing thousands of patients each year and leaving others...

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I Should Decide If My Mother Lives, Not a Hospital

(36) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 11:36 AM

A recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a doctor's unilateral right to deny life-sustaining medical treatment to a patient over the family's objections. Attention needs to turn now to another life and death situation that is often bewildering and sometimes fraught with abuse: the...

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