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Office of the Chief Coroner establishes an Expert Panel to review deaths involving air ambulance transport by ORNGE

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Office of the Chief Coroner establishes an Expert Panel to review deaths involving air ambulance transport by ORNGE

Dr. Andrew McCallum, Chief Coroner for Ontario has announced that the Patient Safety Review Committee of the Office of the Chief Coroner will establish an Expert Panel to review deaths in which issues pertaining to air ambulance transport by ORNGE may have affected the outcome. The aim of this Review will be to learn from the circumstances of these deaths in order to make recommendations, if appropriate, to ensure that the best possible care is provided by our air ambulance system.

The Office of the Chief Coroner initially reviewed a number of deaths and found that none of them appeared to have been materially affected by issues pertaining to air ambulance transport. Since then, additional deaths have been identified. A systematic approach has now been developed to identify all known deaths from January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2012, where there are relevant concerns. A panel comprised of experts in air ambulance, pre-hospital care and emergency medicine is being established to comprehensively review all such cases. The exact number of deaths that will be reviewed has not yet been finalized. The Expert Panel will provide their opinion as to whether or not issues pertaining to air ambulance transport had any impact on the outcome in each case, and may make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths in future. This panel will be chaired by Dr. Craig Muir, Regional Supervising Coroner - Sudbury. Dr. Muir is a former Chief of Surgery with expertise in emergency surgery and trauma. Other members of the expert panel include:

  • Dr. Dan Cass, Deputy Chief Coroner, Investigations - Dr. Cass is a former emergency physician and Chief of Emergency Medicine with expertise in emergency care and trauma management, and is the Chair of the Patient Safety Review Committee of the Office of the Chief Coroner
  • Dr. Jonathan Dreyer - Dr. Dreyer is an emergency physician and former Chief of Emergency Medicine at London Health Sciences Centre with expertise in emergency care and trauma management.
  • Dr. John Tallon - Dr. Tallon is an emergency physician and past president of the Trauma Association of Canada and is currently the Vice President of Medical Programs, Emergency and Health Services Commission in British Columbia which includes BC Ambulance, BC Bedline and the BC Trauma Program.
The Expert Panel is expected to deliver its report to the Patient Safety Review Committee and the Chief Coroner in the late fall of 2012. The findings and any recommendations from the Review will be made publicly available. Expert reviews are just one way in which the Office of the Chief Coroner delivers its public safety mandate. For more information on Ontario's death investigation system, please visit: www.ontario.ca/safety.

Background Information

Quotes

“Ontarians have a right to expect the best possible care when they need it the most. Through this review we hope to better understand the circumstances of deaths in which concerns have been raised related to air ambulance transport, and, if appropriate, to make recommendations aimed at making air ambulance transportation more responsive to the needs of the critically ill and injured.”

Dr. Andrew McCallum

Chief Coroner for Ontario

Media Contacts

  • Dr. Dan Cass

    Deputy Chief Coroner - Investigations

    416-314-4046

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