My Philosophy

My experiences in healthcare in Canada have led me to certain basic conclusions. These inform the foundation of my work:

  • Patients experience significant levels of unintentional harm in healthcare

  • Most unintentional harm emerges from the interaction of many factors, most of which are unrelated to the efforts of highly trained and dedicated providers.

  • Adverse events need robust reviews to identify contributing factors. It is very difficult to change that which is not understood.

  • Open transparent dialogue that includes patients and families is essential. In other words, “nothing about me, without me”.

  • Patients deserve full explanations of what happened, what is being done to prevent such events in the future, and appropriate apologies.

Underlying these concepts are principles that constitute a framework for my work:

  • Truth-telling is essential.

  • Accepting responsibility and providing accountability are essential.

  • We all must accept responsibility for the choices we make, even though we often have incomplete data to inform our choices. We must also be accountable for our actions (“providing an account” of our lived experience), as part of truth-telling.

  • Systems thinking is central to understanding healthcare – “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.

  • Understanding complex adaptive systems (CAS) principles is essential. Healthcare is one of the most complex CAS in existence.

  • A moral compass is essential to guide understanding and action. A humanistic perspective leads to an ethical, inclusive and compassionate approach to individuals and organizations.