Dealing with adverse events, complaints or a privilege challenge

adverse events, complaints, privilege challenge, Physician and Family Support Program, pfsp, ama, Alberta Medical Association

What are the steps for dealing with adverse events, complaints or a privilege challenge?


  1. Contact the Canadian Medical Protective Association:
    Contact the CMPA — a great support and a critical first step when facing an adverse event with a patient and before responding to a notice of complaint or a challenge to your privileges:

    T 1.800.267.6522 or visit the CMPA website

    Canadian physicians carry medical liability protection through the CMPA (and CMPA provides legal counsel across Canada). If necessary, the CMPA will refer you to appropriate legal counsel for further guidance.
  2. Contact the Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP):
    PFSP provides confidential, emotional support and counseling for you and your family.
  3. Record information about the incident:
    • RECORD everything you can remember about the incident for your own future reference.
    • Protect and secure the medical file. Do not change or write anything on the file. Make a photocopy of the file.
    • It is best not to discuss the content of a suit, complaint or challenge with others. It is, however, good to share your feelings in general about this challenging experience with someone you trust.

For more information on what the medical legal process might look like, go to:

For more detailed information read, Dealing with Adverse Events, Complaints, and Medical Legal Litigation

Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.