August 18, 2010

Pt 1: Pathology Oversight - Last month, we heard from Nick Bala. He's a Law Professor at Queen's University. He's suffering from a very advanced cancer that is difficult to treat. And he says that's because a pathologist mis-diagnosed his cancer as benign. Today we hear about another cancer mis-diagnosis linked to the same lab. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Love You Forever - We rebroadcast the story of a Haitian infant whose Canadian adoption was fast-tracked after the earthquake last January. But adapting to her new life hasn't been easy. Listen to Esther's story. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Mike Finnerty.

It's Wednesday August 18th.

The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association has come out in favour of a casino at the site of one of the bloodiest battles in American history.

Currently, But because it's hallowed ground, there will be no mosque anywhere near the craps table.

This is The Current.

Pathology Oversight - David Munroe

We started this segment with a clip from Nick Bala speaking on The Current last month. He's a law professor at Queen's University. The cancer that Nick Bala has -- third stage metastatic melanoma -- is aggressive and difficult to treat. And Nick wanted to find out how a pathologist could have missed it two years earlier. So a second physician at the Kingston General hospital looked at the original slide and wrote a report to confirm melanoma was there and effectively the first pathologist had made a misdiagnosis.

Nick Bala appealed that decision to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. It disagreed with the College's original ruling and referred the matter back to the College so that it could reconsider it. The College is in the process of doing that now. But in the meantime, Nick Bala says other patients may be at risk too.

David Munroe is 61 years old ... a retired worker from the Dupont factory just down the road from his home in nearby Amherstview, Ontario. He and Nick Bala share the same family doctor. David Munroe says he never worried much about his health, apart from his regular yearly check-up. But then, three years ago, he noticed a mole that didn't look quite right. So he brought it up with his doctor at his annual appointment and everything seemed to be fine.

David Munroe's faith in the medical profession was shaken two years ago ... when another of his regular physicals led to a very different conclusion. His doctor noticed the mole was getting irregular and phoned two weeks later to say it is melanoma. The doctor sent David right away for surgery.

The good news for David Munroe is that for now at least, he appears to be free of melanoma. But his case, along with Nick Bala's, raise some serious questions about pathology errors, how to prevent them, what should happen when they are uncovered and who is ultimately accountable.

In its ruling, the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board recommended that the College of Physicians and Surgeons, immediately confirm or dispel the allegation of a second misdiagnosis. The Review Board also said that if there was a second misdiagnosis, it strongly recommended the College immediately undertake a broader review of Dr. James Murray's practice.

We wanted to ask the College of Physicians and Surgeons about any investigations it is launching into these cases. But the College declined to speak to us.

We also requested an interview with Doctor James Murray. In an e-mail, his lawyer said that it would be inappropriate for Doctor Murray to comment while these matters are still before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

We also invited CML Healthcare -- the private lab that was involved -- to take part in an interview. The company refused. But it did give us the following statement. It reads:

Please note that CML HealthCare is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to provide laboratory services in Ontario. We outsource the analysis of certain specimens collected at our clinics to various physicians licensed by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. The College is responsible for the licensing, monitoring, investigating and disciplining of physicians in Ontario. CML HealthCare cannot comment on the procedures instituted by them to regulate the practice of medicine.

Article of interest: Ontario pathology overhaul ordered / Pathologists call for national system to prevent testing errors

Pathology Oversight - Laurette Geldenhuys

Laurette Geldenhuys is the President of the Canadian Association of Pathologists. She's also a professor in the Department of Pathology at Dalhousie University. And she was in Halifax.

Pathology Oversight - Factboard

One of the hardest questions to answer is how often medical mistakes happen. Here's what we know. In 2004, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that errors of one kind or another were made in 7.5 per cent of all hospital admissions in Canada.

In a survey taken in 2006, three-quarters of Canadian health care managers said they thought they would likely experience a serious medical error if they were treated in a Canadian hospital.

A large scale study of laboratories in the United States found a diagnostic error rate of five per cent. It also found that the majority of those errors had little impact on patients. In Britain's public health system in 2008-2009, more than 360,000 samples were mislabeled before they even reached the laboratories. At least 46 patients died or had treatment significantly delayed as a result.


Love You Forever (Doc Repeat)

Last January, Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Among the dead were thousands of children. And many more were injured or orphaned. The Canadian Government quickly announced that Haitian orphans who had been matched with Canadian families before the earthquake would have their adoptions fast-tracked.

And 12 days after the earthquake, 24 Haitian children landed in Canada. Since then, more than 200 more have found permanent homes here. They arrived to the welcoming arms of adoptive mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and an opportunity for a new life. But that doesn't mean the transition has been easy.

The Current's Kathleen Goldhar has produced a documentary about one family ... Jayne Engle-Warnick, her husband and their adopted daughter Esther, who was one of the 24 children on that first plane from Haiti. Kathleen's documentary is called Love You Forever. It first aired on The Current in March.

Music Bridge

Artist: Yann Tiersen
Cd: Le Fabuleaux Destin D'Amelie Poulain Film
Cut: 4, Comptine D'un Autre Ete: L'Apres-Midi
Label: Labels
Spine: 8102292


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