21% errors in pathology reports in Miramichi Hospital, New Brunswick

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An additional review of pathology reports in Miramichi Hospital, New Brunswick is completed by Dr. Rosemary Henderson, pathologist. This review included 227 cases of prostate and breast cancer biopsies from 2004-2005. The results indicated that 18 percent of the cases had incomplete results and three percent of the cases were misdiagnosed.

All patient care issues identified from this review have been communicated with the appropriate referring doctor.

Patient safety is a top priority for the Miramichi Regional Health Authority. The organization is open and transparent regarding patient safety concerns. When serious concerns first arose regarding diagnostic reporting issues from a former pathologist in January 2007, immediate steps were taken to refer the issue to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick which is the body mandated to address competency issues. The pathologist’s license was suspended immediately.

Based on the recent findings, a retrospective review or a review of all pathological reports completed by the former pathologist will be conducted beginning February 2007 going back to 1995. This will include a total of 15,000 cases. External and independent pathology specialists will conduct the review.

All patients who have had their pathological tests such as tissue biopsies analyzed by this pathologist will be contacted by either their family doctor or referring surgeon. If neither are in the region patients are requested to call (506)623-3300 and a physician will get back to them. This process may take some time.

There are no concerns for tests performed after February 2007.

Source: Miramichi Regional Health Authority, Canada

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