Heidi Dawn Klompas: Missed Opportunities

Wrongful Death Accountability Act

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.  

Heidi's Story

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. 

Part One

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. 

Part Two 

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.

Part Three 

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. 

Part Four

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? 

The Author

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.

For a copy of this book please email Catherine at: catadam6@gmail.com