Friday, April 17, 2015

Motherisk; Major development; Hospital for Sick Children announced on Friday it has permanently discontinued hair drug and alcohol tests at its Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (after Toronto Star probe); Hospital still will not say if Dr. Gideon Koren has been removed as Director of Motherisk; Reporter Rachel Mendleson; The Toronnto Star;

STORY: "Sick Kids shuts down hair tests at Motherisk lab,"  by reporter Rachel Mendleson, published by the Toronto Star on April 17, 2015.

SUB-HEADING:  "The decision, announced on Friday, comes amid a Star investigation."

SUB-HEADING: "The Hospital for Sick Children announced on Friday it has permanently discontinued hair drug and alcohol tests at its Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory."

GIST:   "The Hospital for Sick Children has permanently discontinued hair drug and alcohol tests at its embattled Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory after an internal review “further explored and validated” previous, and as yet undisclosed, “questions and concerns.” The decision, announced on Friday, comes amid a Star investigation and mounting pressure from critics to shutter the lab, whose hair drug and alcohol tests have been used in criminal and child protection cases across the country, typically as evidence of parental substance abuse......... Sick Kids recently temporarily reassigned medical oversight of Motherisk, which also counsels pregnant women on which medications are safe to take, amid questions from the Star about the ties between Motherisk director and founder Gideon Koren and the drug company Duchesnay. The questions related to the lack of disclosure of the funding Motherisk receives from Duchesnay in a booklet for pregnant women co-written by Koren and featured on the Motherisk website, which heavily promotes the use of Duchesnay’s drug Diclectin to treat morning sickness. The hospital has said it is aware of the concerns about Koren and Duchesnay and is continuing to investigate. It has declined to comment on whether Koren has been removed as director of Motherisk.........The Star investigation of Motherisk began late last year, when an Appeal Court overturned the cocaine-related convictions of Toronto mom Tamara Broomfield after fresh evidence criticized the hair drug tests results Koren presented at her 2009 trial. Broomfield was sentenced to seven years in prison for feeding her toddler cocaine after Koren testified that tests of her son’s hair showed that he had regularly consumed large amounts of the drug for more than a year leading up to a near-fatal 2005 overdose. The fresh evidence for the defence came from Craig Chatterton, deputy chief toxicologist in the office of the chief medical examiner in Edmonton, who challenged the findings, and said the test Motherisk used to test the boy’s hair was a preliminary screening test, and the result should have been confirmed with a gold-standard tests. The terms of the independent review were set after Sick Kids told the Star it started using the gold-standard test to analyze hair for cocaine in 2010. When she announced the review, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur said it was first step that could spark a larger inquiry. A number of critics, including the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Family Lawyers Association, the Innocence Project and the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted have since called for the scope to be broadened."

The entire story can be found at:

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