Monday, December 15, 2008


"A lawyer representing patients in a proposed class-action lawsuit against the Miramichi Regional Health Authority says a report into Dr. Rajgopal Menon is reinforcing the necessity of the legal action," CBC News reported on December 12, 2008;

"Mike Dull of Wagners Law Firm in Halifax said Justice Paul Creaghan's inquiry into the disgraced pathologist reinforces his clients' belief there were some serious problems at the Miramichi Regional Hospital," the CBC report continued;

""We've been confident all along that we have a strong case of systemic negligence," Dull alleged.

"The recent findings of the inquiry, they stand alone and they only serve to support our initial belief, and we're happy to see the inquiry recognize the serious systemic issues which took place at the Miramichi Regional Hospital."

The proposed class action has been filed and a court must now decide whether to certify it. None of the allegations has been proven in court. Dull would not say how many individuals are involved.

The public relations case against Menon continued to worsen on Thursday.

Health Minister Michael Murphy released a report by Ottawa-based Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories.

The lab re-examined about 23,000 tests conducted by the former pathologist at Miramichi Regional Hospital and Edmundston Regional Hospital. The cases were from Miramichi, dating between 1995 and 2007, and from Edmundston in 2002.

The Ottawa lab found 5,286 of the cases reviewed had a complete or partial change in findings. That translates into about 25 per cent of his tests over a 12-year period that contained problems of some degree.

'We have a good health-care system. We've had a few bumps along the road.'
— Health Minister Michael MurphyOf the 370 tests results that Menon got completely wrong, 101 were cancer biopsies.

Murphy said he didn't know how many of those patients were worse off because of the errors, but he said they will get the care they need.

"The province will continue to ensure that everybody gets the proper care that they deserve. We have a good health-care system. We've had a few bumps along the road," the health minister said.

Progressive Conservative MLA Claude Landry, the Opposition's health critic, said he worries that the new larger regional health authorities set up by the Liberals will make fixing the system more difficult.

The health minister said some changes are already underway, but he will announce broader reforms by mid-February.

Former patient hopes good comes out of inquiry

A former patient of Menon's is looking forward to see what changes are brought about to help patients affected by the pathologist's misdiagnoses.

Sister Kathleen Waters said patients deserve support, advocacy and transparency. Waters's test results weren't affected, but her faith in the health-care system was.

Waters testified in front of the Creaghan inquiry and now hopes the judge's 52 recommendations released Wednesday spark reform in the health system.

"They say in spiritual life, good can come out of something bad. And I think a lot of good — if the Department of Health responds to these suggestions," Waters said. "If patients assume the responsibility to be implicated in their care, I think a lot of good can come out of this. I think it's a real grace in an ironic way."

She hopes the recommendations will lead to new resources for the patients affected by those problems. Anne McTiernan-Gamble of the Canadian Cancer Society said her organization is reaching out to patients in Miramichi.

"What happened in the Miramichi we were very concerned about the patients and their families," she said. "In addition we wanted to let them know that we have the cancer information services available to them and support services for them that's only a phone call away.""