Sloppy hiring at Edmonton hospital led to mistakes in cancer tests: report

Alberta’s health watchdog says slipshod management led to the hiring of a pathologist who misdiagnosed biopsies for cancer patients at an Edmonton hospital.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s health watchdog says slipshod management led to the hiring of a pathologist who misdiagnosed biopsies for cancer patients at an Edmonton hospital.

Dr. John Cowell of the Health Quality Council says there was no thorough hiring process in place at the Royal Alexandra Hospital when a temporary pathologist was hired a year ago.

It was subsequently found the pathologist either under-reported the level of cancer or missed cancer altogether in 159 samples.

Cowell also says there were problems with 31 tissue specimens in the lab at Calgary’s Rockyview Hospital because the testing machine did not abort the test if the technician made a mistake such as loading in the wrong fluid levels.

Cowell says until the machine is improved, technicians need to adopt safeguards such as double-checking each other’s work.

The government has said no patients were seriously harmed as a result of the mistakes.

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