Dr. Malone Chaya still remembers the close call that kept him up nights.

“I’ll never forget that day,” says Dr. Chaya. “I was a young physician and I was giving an antibiotic to a patient when I suddenly realized that the syringe of local anesthetic I had on the drug cart was not where I had left it. My heart froze as I anticipated what was about to unfold.”

Dr. Malone Chaya

Dr. Malone Chaya (foreground) recognizes the stress near misses place on health care staff.

Dr. Chaya took immediate remedial action and fortunately the syringe was found – his assistant had used the syringe as a diluent for the antibiotic and everything turned out fine for the patient. Dr. Chaya, however, was a little traumatized.

“Healthcare providers who are involved in an unanticipated adverse patient event, medical error or patient related injury often become ‘the second victim’,” explains Dr. Chaya. “The provider feels personally responsible for the outcome and feels as though they’ve failed their patients.” It can also sometimes lead to the provider second-guessing their clinical skills and knowledge base.

This is why Dr. Chaya, along with Beryl Ludwig from Occupational Health and Safety, Donna Chalifoux with Healthy Workplace are leading the work around psychological safety for the Safer Every Day 90-Day Initiative, with the aim of building clinician support after adverse and clinical events in the workplace. Their team is also receiving support from Kaizen Specialist Vanesa Vanstone.

“Our hope is that as we make care safer, we are also better able to support our clinicians in the event that something does go wrong or events unfold that impact their ability to continue delivering excellent care,” says Dr. Chaya.

Dr. Chaya is also hoping that physicians and employees across Saskatoon Health Region will share their stories, suggestions and ideas with the team so they can build supports that are meaningful to healthcare providers. Contact information for the team is:

Dr. Malone Chaya: malone.chaya@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

Beryl Ludwig: beryl.ludwig@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

Donna Chalifoux: donna.chalifoux@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

Vanesa Vanstone: vanesa.vanstone@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

For more information about Safer Every Day, the Region’s new safety initiative, visit www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/SaferEveryDay.