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May 14, 2008

Pathology Review Update

Review Moves into Second Phase

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Diagnostic Services of Manitoba announced today that the external review of the work of a specific pathologist has so far not uncovered a case in which a patient required additional treatment as a result of an incorrect or incomplete pathology report. The review is progressing as planned and if any new cases with significant findings are uncovered, the physician and patient will be notified immediately. As well, if any significant issue is uncovered, the public will be notified promptly.

Dr. Brock Wright, WRHA Vice President and Chief Medical Officer said the interim report should be reassuring for the public. "Initially, we had three cases where we thought there might be some impact for the patient – that they might require additional therapy," he said. "But after the physicians met with those patients, the doctors informed us that was not the case." Dr. Wright added that the review was originally launched out of an abundance of caution, with patient safety being the primary focus.

To date the review process indicates:

  • That of the initial 35 cases reviewed internally by a DSM pathologist none had any significant clinical impact that required any change in treatment.

  • That of the first 289 cases now reviewed by the external pathologist, 14 had been flagged for further review.

  • Twelve of those 14 cases had no clinical impact. One of these patients has since died from causes unrelated to their pathology report.

  • The two remaining cases are still under review by pathology.

Dr. Amin Kabani, DSM's Chief Medical Officer, confirmed the external review will continue and now move into its second phase. "We are now going to start examining the most complex cases this pathologist handled over the past year - starting with the most recent first - and then work backwards chronologically." The review of the remaining cases from February 2008 (already underway) and those referred from the WHRA Inquiry Line will continue. He reiterated that if anything of significance is uncovered during the course of the review the public would be notified.

As of the end of day May 12th, the WRHA Inquiry Line (788-8004) received a total of 277 calls. Yesterday the line received a total of three calls.

  • All of the 277 callers have received return calls acknowledging that their message was received, with the exception of a handful who did not answer their phone and do not have voicemail. Attempts to contact them continue. The three callers from yesterday will be contacted today.

  • Of the 277 callers, we have been able to determine:

    • 85 callers did not have their files reviewed by the pathologist in question at any point. These callers are all being contacted.

    • 15 callers did have their files reviewed by the pathologist in question. Of those, there are only three callers whose cases were reviewed solely by the pathologist whose work is being reviewed. Investigations of all 15 cases are currently underway by DSM and WRHA. Patients will be notified of the outcome as soon as information is available.

  • Files of the remaining 177 callers are still being pulled and reviewed to determine what pathologist reviewed their file and whether there are any issues. Follow-up calls to all these patients will be made as soon as the information is available.

The pathologist in question will remain on leave as the review progresses.

For more information contact:

Heidi Graham
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Phone: (204) 926-7178
Cell: (204) 223-9089

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