Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. It is a form of selection bias.
In British Columbia, unlike the other provinces and the Yukon who have already modernized their wrongful death legislation, only the wrongfully killed who were breadwinners that had dependents have worth under the law. This is based on a percentage of their future lost income. For everyone else, especially vulnerable members of society such children, seniors, and the disabled, their lives are worthless under the present law in BC. Accordingly, the surviving families are never able to access justice, hold wrongdoers accountable, and see future deterrent mechanisms put in place, to prevent wrongful deaths of the same cause from happening in the future.
This is a form of survivorship bias, meaning only those who are merely injured will ever see their day in court, leaving countless lives lost by wrongful act causing death unaccounted for. As a result, more people will continue to die the same way.
Take for example the story of 17 year old Heidi Klompas from Langley, who had both her legs broken after being hit by a drunk driver. The doctors delayed surgery, which caused a fat embolism, followed by another series of preventable medical errors, ultimately resulting in her death. 19 years later, 16 year old Lindsey Kean in Nanaimo had her leg broken in a car accident. Her surgery was also delayed, causing a fat embolism (a preventable medical error), and as a result tragically died as well. Had Heidi’s Mother, Catherine Adamson been able to seek justice for Heidi, then perhaps corrective retraining measures could have been undertaken to ensure doctors across the board were retrained accordingly. This could have saved Lindsey’s life 19 years later. Some might argue that “money doesn’t bring your loved one back”, but money is however the only unit of measurement that people universally keep track of. When applied in legal penalty, will as a result incentivize policy change, and deter future wrongful actions of the same kind.
Watch the video to learn more about the concept of survivorship bias.