Canadian Lawyer

November 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 27 of 51

26 FEATURE GC PROFILE WORKING TOGETHER TO MITIGATE RISK Megan Evans puts patients first as she manages risk and supports critical initiatives at SickKids LIKE MANY in-house lawyers, Megan Evans started her career in private prac- tice before feeling compelled to move to an in-house position where she could play a closer role in managing the issues at hand. Having worked in an advisory role at a law firm, primarily advising hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies on legal, risk and policy issues, Evans felt that an in-house position in the healthcare field was an ideal fit. The Hospital for Sick Children offered her the director of legal services role in 2007. Evans helped shape the hospital's legal department over time, earning the title of vice president, chief legal and risk officer. Now leading a team of 26 legal profes- sionals, she is a member of the executive team at the Toronto-based hospital – corpo- rately branded as SickKids – with oversight of legal risk management, privacy, conflict of interest management insurance and a range of other matters. Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Evans and her team have been quietly working behind the scenes to support many critical initiatives. Their work has helped the hospital provide the best possible care to patients during the crisis. Staff who did not have to work in the hospital transitioned to working from home. At one point during the pandemic, the hospital – which normally only treats patients under 18 – opened an intensive care unit for adult patients to help alleviate the pressure on other hospitals, as children were hit less severely by the virus. This pivot required considerable input from the legal team. "In a very short space of time, we had to figure out our strategies, policies, and procedures in our children's ICU so that those would be workable in the adult envi- ronment," says Evans. When hand sanitizer was in short supply during the early stages of the pandemic, SickKids' research institute retooled to make hand sanitizer. This move helped ensure the hospital had a back-up supply in case it could not source the product from its traditional supply chain locations. Institute members partnered with legal team members to ensure they met all Health Canada and other regulatory requirements. Risk management is a significant respon- sibility for Evans and her team as they strive to navigate and prevent risk wherever possible, with the best interest of patients in mind. Flexibility is key. The initial anal- ysis does not always generate the best outcome for the patient, so Evans will go "In a very short space of time, we had to figure out our strategies, policies, and procedures in our children's ICU, so that those would be workable in the adult environment"

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