When people receive health care services, they expect to receive safe care. Health care providers try to do their best to ensure this is the case. But unexpected things can happen to patients that cause them unintended harm. Unexpected events can result from the health care provided and not due to the patient’s illness or the usual risks in treating the disease. When this event happens, it is called a critical incident.

What is a critical incident?

A critical incident is an unintended event that occurs when health services are provided to an individual and result in an effect to him or her that:

  • is serious and undesired, such as death, disability, injury or harm, unplanned admission to hospital or unusual extension of a hospital stay; and
  • does not result from the individual’s underlying health condition or from a risk inherent in providing the heath services. This means the unintended event does not result from the patient’s illness or the risk in treating the illness, but from the health care provided.

What is disclosure and how are critical incidents reported?

When health care providers discuss the facts about a critical incident with the patient, this process is called disclosure. While we are sorry that a critical incident has occurred, we want to provide you with an explanation of what has happened – this fosters an environment of openness, trust and transparency in our health care system. Report any critical incident by contacting a Southern Health-Santé Sud Patient Safety Coordinators (see contact information on this page).

What you can expect after critical incident has been identified/reported?

Once a critical incident has been identified and reported, we will:

  • give you the facts about what actually happened in a clear manner
  • complete a disclosure record that includes:
    • the facts of what actually happened as they become known
    • how this event will impact on your health
    • the actions taken or to be taken to deal with the results of the critical incident. This may include any health services, care or treatment advised for the patient
    • at your request, provide you with a copy of the disclosure record free-of-charge
    • review the event to learn how to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else
    • report these findings to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. As part of the outcomes, recommendations for improvements are made and shared provincially to promote and share learning from reviews of critical incidents.

We value, support and respect your contribution in sharing details about a critical incident. We want to partner with you in our efforts to learn about our health care system through this process with the goal being system wide improvements for the future.