N.B. needs standardized rules, regulations for pathologists: expert
A top official with the New Brunswick Cancer Network is calling for standard practices and procedures in the province when it comes to overseeing the work of pathologists.
Testifying Tuesday at the inquiry looking into the work of former Miramichi pathologist Dr. Rajgop Menon, the network’s co-chief executive officer said there is not a standard set of rules across New Brunswick for pathologists.
Dr. Eshwar Kumar said the government must consider making changes.
"I would strongly urge them to consider standardizing operating procedures and the laboratories — try to get them to move to national standards on reporting and also ensure that the pathologists have adequate resources to do the job that they’re trained to do," he said.
Kumar also testified that he believes an outside body should review the work of pathologists.
"It’s got to be handled by their peers, and if you’re in a small province with a small number of people that are going to have to do the reviews, it’s going to have to be somebody from outside the province," he said.
Kumar said he doesn’t think that either the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons or the New Brunswick Medical Society should be involved in performing peer reviews.
There is still a shortage of pathologists in the province, he said, and that’s putting added pressure on a system dealing with more cancer cases.
Menon, now 73, worked as a pathologist at the Miramichi Regional Health Authority, which operates the Miramichi Regional Hospital, in northeastern New Brunswick from 1995 until February 2007, when he was suspended following complaints about incomplete diagnoses and delayed lab results.
New Brunswick Health Minister Mike Murphy called the inquiry after an independent audit of 227 cases of breast and prostate cancer biopsies from 2004 to 2005 found 18 per cent had incomplete results and three per cent had been misdiagnosed.
Testimony at the inquiry continues Thursday.