Family seeks answers in woman's death after she visited dental clinic

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, November 21, 2014 11:11PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 21, 2014 11:26PM EST A Toronto woman’s mysterious death last year is raising questions about a little-known loophole that allows hospitals to withhold internal review information from families and the public.
Pamela Minocha, 33, visited a dental clinic last year with a toothache. She was prescribed antibiotics for an abscess, but began vomiting shortly after taking them and was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.
St. Joseph’s staff reassured Minocha’s parents in Calgary that she would be fine. But by the time they were on a plane to see her, she was dead.

An autopsy suggested Minocha had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. However, the family told CTV News that they haven’t been able to see the results of the hospital’s review of the incident.
Patient advocate Natalie Mehra, of the Ontario Health Coalition, said information about Minocha’s death is protected under the Quality of Care Information Protection Act (QCIPA) which Mehra says allows hospitals to keep the results of internal investigations a secret -- providing a potential shield for healthcare workers.
“It could be anything really,” Mehra said. “But the bottom line is it enables hospitals to hide that information from families and anybody.”
QCIPA is a discretionary measure that hospitals can use to trump all other legislation, including freedom-of-information law, and allow Ontario hospitals to hide the results of critical care investigations from families, the public and even coroners.
In a statement, officials at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto wrote: “Every effort has been made to address the family’s questions and concerns.”
The family disagrees. Minocha’s brother Arvin believes that information provided by the hospital has been too little -- and too late.
“And then the coroner is saying, ‘We don’t know why your sister died,’” he said. “And this will take four to six months -- and we are in month 16 now,” he told CTV News Toronto.
In July, Ontario’s Ministry of Health launched a review of the QCIPA which it hopes will be completed by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Minocha’s family says they will keep asking questions until they get some answers to make sure others don’t suffer the same fate.
“No one should have to deal with this,” Arvin Minocha said.

Read more: Family seeks answers in woman's death after she visited dental clinic | CTV News

QCIPA, that one's news to me. Quality Care Information Protection Act, seems like if there was quality to the care the information wouldn't need to be protected, doesn't it? Doesn't seem right.