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Liberals balk at health scrutiny

The Ottawa Citizen, Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press

Toronto – The governing Liberals are resisting calls to grant oversight of the health-care system to the Ontario ombudsman, like every other province and territory in Canada. They’re planning to create a separate patient ombudsman instead, but it’s a weaker role that won’t make the sector more accountable to patients or their families, critics say. Mary Daskalos said she received no help when she complained about the treatment her 92-year-old mother was getting in a Toronto hospital four years ago. It was a “living nightmare”, she said. Her mother was in and out of heart failure, but the hospital wanted her out of the acute care bed and bullied her family, she said, adding they tried to sedate her mother even though she couldn’t tolerate those drugs … Her mother contracted an infection during her stay, Daskalos said. She believes the hospital didn’t protect her and complained to officials while her mother was dying. But they didn’t take any action and told her family to write a letter to the hospital patient relations representative. No investigation was launched, she said. “How can the offender possibly investigate itself?” she asked. “The only way to achieve true independent oversight is to grant the provincial ombudsman the direct power of investigation over health care. Otherwise, the abuse, the untimely deaths like my mother’s and the continued erosion of quality care in our health-care system will continue.”

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