Tag archives

health care

Human Error to Blame for OR Deaths

I don’t normally like to reference the newspaper for any sort of health information, but I came across this article last weekend and decided to make an exception.

Based on figures from a national adverse events survey, it is estimated that up to 920 people die in BC each year from preventable human mistakes in surgery. And that is only based on reported adverse events. How many mistakes are not reported, or blamed on other issues (patient’s poor health, it was a risky surgery etc.).

This article highlights a changing tide in the public. More and more patients are starting to question the safety of hospital and surgical procedures that are performed everyday. They are looking to take a more proactive approach in their own safety in health care. Recently, the first “Empowered Patient Conference” was held in BC and was a rousing success.

In my opinion, hospital care and/or surgery is an important and valuable tool for those who need it. We are lucky in Canada to have such an excellent critical and urgent care system. However, many people head in that direction much sooner than is needed. People need to start looking at all their options and choose the least risky/invasive therapy first. I don’t think its too dramatic to say that your life may depend on it.

Vancouver Sun Medical Deaths July 01 2010

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

Sad Local Health Story

I was dismayed to learn a week ago that a military-style raid had been conducted by Health Canada and the College of Pharmacists on our local Marigold Pharmacy.  All compliance issues aside, I don’t believe that this had to go down the way it did. Marigold provides a unique service to the community, and I wish them a speedy re-opening!  You can read Marigold Pharmacy’s blog here for an account of what happened:


Chiropractic Success in Hospitals

A great article (which can be found here) recently appeared in the Toronto Star talking about academic research and collaborative practice amongst Chiropractic doctors. With new Chiropractic research chairs being added each year (University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, McMaster University to name a few), more and more people are realizing that Chiropractors have a valuable contribution to make to understanding the spine and its problems.

One such contribution came in the form of a pilot project at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. This program saw chiropractors added as staff to treat patients in a collaborative way with other departments (such as the family medicine department). The project has been a huge success.

For those of us who see the results of chiropractic care first hand, it makes perfect sense to have chiropractors on staff in a hospital. The few times I’ve been to the ER with a bad sprain or broken finger, I can’t believe how many people I see waiting 8 hours with back pain. Most of those people will simply be given an X-ray, pain medication and discharged in the same state in which they came in.

I know that if they had come to my office instead, I could have at the very least made them feel better than when they arrived. More importantly, chiropractors are educated in differential diagnosis, which means we can determine when someone should go to the ER instead of being in our office. On two different cases this year I sent someone back to the ER or their family doctor only to find out that the diagnosis was ureter cancer and a tumor of the nerve sheath.

Including chiropractors in a hospital setting is a great way to ensure patients get quick and effective relief from their pain, and also to save time and money on needless diagnostic tests or harmful medications.


Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor (soon).

How Chiropractic Can Help You

Chiropractic is a safe and effective form of treatment for neuro-musculoskeletal complaints. Below is a 30-minute video produced by the BC Chiropractic Association detailing how chiropractic can help you. Whether its a workplace injury, motor vehicle accident or chronic headache, discover how your local chiropractor can get you back on the road to recovery.

[viddler id=755952b3&w=437&h=370]

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

Chiropractic is Safe and Effective

Myth #4: Chiropractic treatment is dangerous.

A great synopsis of the risks associated with chiropractic treatment was recently published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. While the full text article can be found at the bottom of this post, the summary is as follows:

This synopsis provides an overview of the benign and serious risks associated with chiropractic care for subjects with neck or low-back pain. Most adverse events associated with spinal manipulation are benign and self-limiting. The incidence of severe complications following chiropractic care and manipulation is extremely low. The best evidence suggests that chiropractic care is a useful therapy for subjects with neck or low-back pain for which the risks of serious adverse events should be considered negligible. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31:461-464)

This synopsis references a previous study published in Spine which found that the risk of experiencing a stroke following a visit to a chiropractor was equal to the risk of experiencing a stroke following a visit to a family doctor. It led the authors to conclude that “The increased risks of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic and PCP (family doctor) visits is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from VBA dissection seeking care before their stroke. We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.” So, people who are already having a stroke will experience neck pain and headaches, and will logically go and see either their chiropractor or their family doctor. It is not the treatment of either of these practitioners that causes the stroke to happen.

In summary, there are risks of adverse events with chiropractic treatment. These risks are small and self-limiting, and the risks of severe complications are very small. When compared to other common treatments such as taking medication or surgery, chiropractic is a very safe form of treatment for neck and low back pain.

Synopsis of Chiropractic Safety

Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

Chiropractic the Cost-Effective Solution in a Recession

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in the last few weeks, you’re aware of the financial crisis that is affecting the world. With governments stepping in with millions (and billions) of dollars to bail out companies and banks alike, its time to realize that this is going to start affecting all government delivered services. In Canada specifically, this means inevitable consequences for the most expensive provincial ministry – Health.

In various provinces over the years, chiropractic care has been de-listed from the necessary health care services which are covered under the provincial plan. Each time, projected cost savings has been listed as the reason for the cut. By axing chiropractic services, the government can save 15-20 million per year in payments. What they don’t seem to realize (or they do and don’t care) is that people who would have sought out a course of $40 chiropractic visits for their back pain will now cost the system much, much more for an MD visit, prescription medication, an unnecessary X-ray or MRI, specialist consults and possibly surgery.

This phenomenon has been documented in several instances in the literature. The largest and most comprehensive study to date was a 2004 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The authors analyzed the claims data of 1.7 million California residents – 1 million without chiropractic benefits in their plans, and 700,000 who had chiropractic benefits included.

What they found was that those people with chiropractic coverage spent 12% less per year on total health care costs. They also used less X-rays and MRIs, had fewer surgeries and hospitalizations, and spent 28% less money each time they had a back pain episode.

The authors concluded that having chiropractic benefits as part of a plan helped to reduce the overall cost of the plan in four ways:

  1. People choosing chiropractic were choosing a safer treatment with less side effects. Side effects will lead to increased cost due to the fact that they then need to be further managed.
  2. People would substitute chiropractic in the place of more expensive and less effective medical care, specifically for spine related conditions.
  3. Chiropractic was more conservative and less invasive than some other medical treatments.
  4. Chiropractic has lower health service costs than other common forms of health care.

Its time to start making health care decisions that will pay off in the future, and stop sacrificing long term viability for short term gain. Chiropractic has been shown to be an effective and cost-effective form of treatment for spine and spine-related problems. Health care policy decisions need to start being made based on evidence and research, and not on which lobby group is the strongest.

Prevention and Your Vancouver Chiropractor

“Health care costs are rising at twice the rate of economic growth, and three times the rate of inflation. We spend more time treating a growing number of chronic diseases, instead of preventing them. Change is needed, and with our Throne Speech and Budget, we have turned the need for change into an opportunity for improvement.

The best time to deal with illnesses is before they occur. That is why our government is moving to eliminate trans fats in the preparation of foods in restaurants and ban smoking in cars with young children, steps we believe will prevent chronic illness in British Columbia and save the health care system downstream costs.

George Abbott, Health Minister

Prevention is the focus of the BC government moving forward. With their Act Now BC campaign, the BC government is trying to encourage BC residents to get active, stay healthy, and prevent chronic diseases from occurring.

One of the largest chronic health conditions in BC residents is that of lower back pain. Over 80% of British Columbians will experience low back pain in their lifetime. It is for this reason that the BC Chiropractic Association has partnered with the Ministry of Health to create a campaign targeting students and their parents.

The Pack it Light, Wear it Right campaign endeavors to educate kids about the potential harmful effects of too-heavy backpacks on their back health. In partnership with Act Now BC, two commercial spots were created and aired on tv. Visit the BCCA web page to view theses spots. They were extremely effective , with a recent Ipsos Reid poll showing a 73% recall of the ads.

More information is available on our Chiropractic Comox Valley website www.bayviewchiro.ca

Pack it Light, Wear it Right Handout

The Truth About Health Care

“The management of our health care system is so inefficient that we not only fail to put patients in the hands of those professionals most qualified to give the best treatment, we actually ensure that the most expensive and least qualified person provides the care. . . . the structure of health management in Canada makes the squandering of billions unavoidable.”

Pran Manga, Ph.D., M.Phil.

A very strong statement from a man at the centre of health policy in Canada. Unfortunately, his statement is not only accurate, but entirely ignored.

If this statement piques your curiosity, makes you scoff, or gets you angry, there is a book you need to read. Squandering Billions is a hard and honest look at health spending and health care policies that have resulted in the “crisis” in our health care system that we read about everyday.

As a Comox Valley Chiropractor, I consistently see the effects of these policies and practices on my patients. I highly recommend to everyone that you read this book!