Sunday, December 14, 2008


The Telegraph-Journal quotes Health Minister Mike Murphy as finding the obscene amount of misread biopsies as "shocking",in a story that appeared under the heading "Review Minister releases laboratory's comprehensive assessment of former pathologist's work."

A sub-heading reads: "New Brunswick pathologist Dr. Rajgopal Menon misdiagnosed 101 cancer biopsies, a comprehensive review of his work shows."

"Mike Murphy Health Minister Mike Murphy stood in the provincial legislature Thursday and delivered the most damning evidence the disgraced pathologist has yet received about the quality of his work during his tenure at the Miramichi Regional Hospital and a brief stint at the Edmundston Regional Hospital," the story begins.

"The Ottawa lab that performed the review also found that the findings of 5,286 of the more than 23,700 biopsies, including 100 in Edmundston, for all diseases that Menon examined were partially or completely changed," it continues;

"The Ottawa lab's review raises Menon's diagnosis discrepancy to more than 22 per cent over his entire 13-year Miramichi career. An assessment of a smaller sample by a Prince Edward Island pathologist in 2007 found a discrepancies in 18 per cent of Menon's cases.

"It's shocking, very shocking," Murphy said of the numbers. "It was a difficult statement to read today. The pathologist in question may have properly assessed a cancer, but improperly assessed the stage of the cancer.

"The staging of the cancer is very important for the treating physician to provide the necessary medication."

Conducted by Ottawa-based Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories, the review re-diagnosed procedures or tests that included biopsies and surgical resection specimens.

Blood work and X-rays were not affected, Murphy said.

Murphy said Regional Health Authorities A and B and their physicians have worked to ensure as many patients as possible were informed before the announcement was made.

"However, in some instances, it's been a challenge to contact patients who have moved from the area," he said. "Therefore, any patient with questions should contact their family doctor or referring surgeon."

Murphy said the province's doctors are ensuring their patients with changes to their diagnoses are provided with the proper information, support and treatment if necessary.

Murphy said Thursday the Ottawa lab report shows that 370 of all the tests for various diseases done by Menon, or roughly 1.5 per cent, were misdiagnosed completely.

Dr. Jagdish Butany, president of the Canadian Association of Pathologists, has that while there is no set acceptable number, human error would suggest the 1.5 per cent number is probable. Butany made the comment while appearing earlier this year before the pathology inquiry headed by Justice Paul Creaghan Creaghan that was sparked by concerns of over Menon's misdiagnosis rate.

The health minister also said that his department hopes to respond by mid-February to Creaghan's 52 recommendations, released Wednesday, on how to prevent a similar situation from reoccurring.

Murphy said that some had already been addressed by the Miramichi Regional Hospital, including a quality assurance program.

Others require consultation with key stakeholders such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick and finances from the department.

"I'm confident that we now have all the information we'll need in our work to ensure that such things never happen again in Miramichi, Edmundston or anywhere else in New Brunswick," Murphy said.

"I can assure the members opposite and all New Brunswickers that the commission's report will be considered extensively in the coming weeks.""


As usual, the message delivered by the system is trust us...somehow ignoring the fact that we trusted them before...and look what happened.

One reader expressed the outrage many people who have suffered irremediable loss may rightfully feel that their government and health officials have let them down;

Another reader has objected that the comments are inflammatory.

I disagree; They are exceptionally honest and reflect the outrage that this inexcusable number of avoidable errors calls for.

"From what I read, he was the only applicant and nobody bothered to check this credentials???," the angry reader wrote;

"Health officials at all levels are responsible here. A lot of so-called doctors have been hired with questionable background and some disappeared in the night, I remember Bathurst...Dr. Creaghan said Dr. Menon was hired in 1994 and should not have been working in 2005? He was just as incompetent during those years than after 2005! This is third-world country health care."