Winnipeg medical lab problems were 'a potential risk to the public': report
An inspection of a downtown Winnipeg medical lab identified problems, some flagged as "a potential risk to the public," yet the public was never told, CBC News has learned.
A copy of the December 2007 inspection report about Norlyn X-ray and Laboratory Services on Hargrave Street was obtained by CBC News, though it took nearly a year to get it.
The report, by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, stated that testing equipment "appeared old and obsolete and was no longer being serviced by the manufacturers."
It also said there were "serious inadequacies" in quality control practices and "no review of quality control records" by the lab director.
Finally, the report showed there were no licenced technologists at all at the lab, and when three did apply, they were rejected.
After the inspection, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba sent a letter to the provincial government, highlighting the problems and calling the situation "a potential risk to the public," yet the public was not informed.
The Norlyn lab closed a little over a year ago. It has since been sold to a different company, Unicity Lab, which operates in the same location but without the associated problems, which CBC News has been told by the physicians college are now corrected.
Adam Chrobak, chair of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Manitoba (CMLTM), which licences the people who run the tests in Manitoba, hadn't seen the report until CBC News showed it to him.
"It's kind of shocking that the lab would run without a quality assurance program. I'm not sure how that happened," he said.
"Had I known it, I would have been very, very concerned," said Edda Pangilinan, who for years had her tests done at Norlyn X-ray and Laboratory Services. "It's my life, and it's not only me, it's other people's lives too. What if the diagnosis was wrong? What if it's contaminated?"
No complaints by doctors
The College of Physicians and Surgeons, in the inspection report, concluded it was unlikely there were any mistakes because there were no records of complaints by doctors.
Bill Pope, registrar for the college, was asked how many doctors were consulted with respect to the lab.
"I can't respond to that. There were only a few physicians who referred to this lab," Pope said.
The formal inspections by the physicians college were launched two years ago. There are 11 other private labs in Manitoba, some of which have been inspected and others that are still waiting for inspections.
It's doubtful the public will ever have a chance to see the inspection reports because owners are shielded by provincial privacy laws.