Catherine Adamson is a member of the Wrongful Death Law Reform Society, which is made up of families who have lost children, seniors, or people living with disabilities, through the wrongful actions of others. Most of the members of this group have lost loved ones through medical errors and are equally frustrated with our current law, "The Family Compensation Act," from the 1800s, which discriminates against children, seniors and people living with disabilities. This current act restricts a family's ability to seek justice and hold accountable those whose negligence and mistakes caused a death. The new act, "The Wrongful Death Accountability Act" was drafted to replace the Family Compensation Act. This new Act will allow families to finally seek justice for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones and to hold accountable those who cause wrongful deaths. Please support this new Act and contact your MLA to urge him or her to support this Act which makes every British Columbian equal in the eyes of the law and our courts.
Please take a look at the website In Their Name: intheirname.ca
After the loss of my daughter, Heidi, from medical errors, this ongoing effort to change an unfair law is my way of giving back to society by preventing future bereaved families from learning that their deceased child is worthless in the eyes of the law.
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Heidi Dawn Klompas: Missed Opportunities
by Catherine S. Adamson
Published 2005 (hardcover); 2012 e-book
On September 13, 1997, a young drunk driver smashes his way through a crowd of over 100 teenagers in an area of South Surrey known as Stokes Pit. Seventeen people are injured and two deaths occur as a result of this accident. One girl, aged 17, dies instantly at the scene from massive head trauma; and Heidi Klompas, age 17, dies three and a half weeks later in Royal Columbian Hospital.
Heidi's death triggers investigations from the Coroner's Office and the B.C. Children's Commission. They both find that Heidi did not die as a direct result of her initial injuries from being struck by the car (two broken shinbones), but instead she died as a result of medical errors. Both reports suggest her death was unnecessary and tragically preventable.
This is Heidi’s life, in small flashes of glory, and her three and a half week struggle against death. This book will take you on a journey from the bloody roadside at Stokes Pit, through the emergency and intensive-care wards of two hospitals, and later, to the position held by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. The medical care Heidi receives is chronicled in detail, based on hundreds of pages of hospital records. The graphic nature of some passages may not be suitable for all readers, but it is the absolute truth as Heidi would have wanted.
The story begins with the lead up to the September car crash at Stokes Pit: the teens’ excitement at the start of the new school year, the gathering of 100-200 students from six area high schools, the alcohol, drugs, new cars, and new friends. And then the crash, mayhem, and injuries that alter everyone’s reality.
The scene is Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, B.C. The book includes independent research into some of the conditions Heidi presents with and how her care in this hospital differs from the care recommended by experts elsewhere. She is mishandled, mistreated, and ends up with a massive brain injury.
Heidi is rushed to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., and the story chronicles how the surgeons and doctors struggle to correct the brain condition caused by the first hospital. You will learn about Fat Embolism Syndrome and how the doctors and nurses battle to save Heidi's brain. You will also learn about Tracheal Innominate Fistulas and how this condition eludes them and eventually leads to Heidi's horrific death in the Maxi Ward a day after leaving Intensive Care.
The aftermath of Heidi's untimely death: organ donation, Heidi's funeral, the pain of discovery through the Coroner's Investigation, the correspondence with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., the legal proceedings, the policy changes by Langley RCMP, Drunk Driving information and, last but not least, the boy in Ontario who receives Heidi's heart.
Heidi, although only seventeen and a half years old, lived a full and exciting life. Between the darker pages of the hospital chronicles are snapshots of her life interspersed throughout. These smaller stories are infused with her exuberance, her smiles, her songs, her adventures and her most joyous moments growing up on the west coast of British Columbia. Readers will get to know Heidi and experience her life as she lived it.
Who Should Read This Book, and Why
This is an important book for all parents to read, as well as doctors, nurses and medical students, because it shines a light on some inherent problems within our medical community. Most people are unaware that a person can die from two broken legs. It is important to understand how a healthy, athletic seventeen year old girl can go into the hospital with nothing more than two badly broken shinbones, only to die three and a half weeks later by drowning.
Heidi's story seems impossible in these days of advanced medical knowledge, but these catastrophic events do happen. With increased knowledge comes the power to make changes and this book will be a catalyst for changes within our medical community by exposing mistakes that have deadly consequences. Heidi’s story will create public dialogues that demand change.
This book takes a look at several important and current societal problems and issues such as medical accountability, drunk driving, the Young Offenders Act, RCMP practices, the Family Compensation Act (which protects bad doctors), and organ donation. The purpose of this book is to create public dialogues that address the above issues with the hope that viable solutions can be first worked out and then initiated. After all, what is life without hope?
Catherine S. Adamson, Heidi’s mother, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1956. Catherine was raised, along with her five siblings, on acreages and farms in the community of Langley, in the Fraser Valley. At the age of twenty-one, Catherine married K. Klompas, an airline pilot, and produced three children in succession: William Albert in December, 1978; Heidi Dawn in May, 1980; and Laura Jayne in September, 1981.
After four years in Ontario, Catherine and her husband moved back to Langley, B.C. to raise their three children. She taught Sunday School, coached softball, served as Brown Owl and then District Commissioner for Girl Guides of Canada, and was an active fundraiser for the children’s school. Catherine obtained her Real Estate License in 1990 and worked for eight years as a Realtor in Langley. In 1996, Catherine ran in the municipal election and won a seat on the Langley School Board as a Trustee, where she served for three years.
The death of seventeen-year-old Heidi in 1997 had a profound effect on Catherine and her entire family. Her marriage collapsed within the first year. She hung up her Realtor's license at the same time and was faced with starting her life over.
Catherine decided to go back to university; and in the next four years she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Visual Arts from UCFV, graduating on the Dean's List, with an award in Art History, in June, 2003. During her time at university, Catherine slowly accumulated the documentation she would need for Heidi's story. The writing started in earnest in 2003. After completing Heidi’s book in the spring of 2005, Catherine moved back to her birthplace of Vancouver, where she continues to write and paint. She is currently writing a children’s illustrated series; and her paintings continue to be shown in a variety of galleries and stores in and around Vancouver. To date she has won over four awards at juried art shows.
Since retiring after ten years teaching English and working in HR, Catherine is now pursuing her artwork as a full time occupation.
* * * Heidi's story is now available in E-Book format . Here is the link: * * *