Test re­sults in doubt

Cen­tral Health of­fer­ing retest­ing to pul­monary func­tion test pa­tients


More than 100 pa­tients at Cen­tral Health gasped for air this month when the health author­ity an­nounced it found two pa­tient safety is­sues, in its car­diopul­monary depart­ment at James Pa­ton Me­mo­rial Re­gional Health Cen­tre in Gan­der.

As a re­sult of a mal­func­tion with equip­ment used to cal­i­brate pul­monary func­tion test (PFT) ma­chines, Cen­tral Health CEO Rose­marie Goodyear said 98 pa­tients, who had PFTs com­pleted be­tween Jan. 13-Feb. 19, would need to be retested.

Ms. Goodyear said Cen­tral Health of­fi­cials had at­tempted to con­tact these pa­tients, with 80 con­sulted and of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to be retested.

“The other 18 we weren’t able to talk to be­cause of var­i­ous rea­sons, such as be­ing away on va­ca­tion, so if we’re not able to ver­bally speak to them in the next few days we will fol­low up in writ­ing with them.

“The retest­ing is al­ready on­go­ing, and we ex­pect by the end of Fri­day (Mar. 21) to have close to half of these 98 com­pleted. It’ll prob­a­bly take about two weeks to com­pletely fin­ish, or at least of­fer ev­ery­one an op­por­tu­nity to be retested within that time frame.”

As for the im­pact this par­tic­u­lar de­lay in hav­ing a PFT com­pleted on a pa­tient, JPMRHC chief of med­i­cal staff Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt said it most likely is to be very min­i­mal.

“The like­li­hood of any neg­a­tive im­pact on pa­tients as a re­sult of this par­tic­u­lar is­sue is an­tic­i­pated to be min­i­mal as PFTs are one of a num­ber of tests used in con­junc­tion with other clin­i­cal find­ings by physi­cians when mak­ing a di­ag­no­sis and/ or treat­ment plan.

“The im­pact on pa­tients can­not be known with cer­tainty un­til retest­ing has been com­pleted.”

Ms. Goodyear said Cen­tral Health would pro­vide an up­date to the pub­lic re­gard­ing any pa­tient harm once ev­ery­thing is com­plete.


The sec­ond is­sue of pa­tient safety com­ing to light in JPMRHC’s car­diopul­monary depart­ment dealt with Cen­tral Health’s dis­tri­bu­tion of Sleep Study re­ports.

Ms. Goodyear said “There was no is­sue with in­ac­cu­ra­cies with the sleep tests ... the is­sue was in terms of in­sur­ing physi­cian aware­ness around re­ports.” She noted there is no need for retest­ing. Ms. Goodyear claimed the is­sue was a re­sult of Cen­tral Health con­sol­i­dat­ing an elec­tronic clin­i­cal in­for­ma­tion sys­tem in April 2013, and while elec­tronic ver­sions of Sleep Study re­ports were avail­able in this sys­tem to all but a small num­ber of physi­cians, paper copies were not be­ing printed and dis­trib­uted to the or­der­ing physi­cian.

“Once this was dis­cov­ered, Sleep Study re­ports be­gan be­ing printed and dis­trib­uted to or­der­ing physi­cians. We will also be send­ing cor­re­spon­dence to those pa­tients as well to let them know there was po­ten­tial their physi­cian may not have viewed their re­port, and we have also brought this to their physi­cian’s at­ten­tion.”

In to­tal Cen­tral Health re­viewed 758 sleep stud­ies, be­long­ing to 719 pa­tients, in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and of this, 93 per cent of these re­ports were nor­mal and re­quired no fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Of the re­main­ing re­ports, there were ini­tially 34 re­ports that had not been re­viewed, with the sta­tus of 18 other re­ports un­de­ter­mined.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms. Goodyear, the proper steps have been taken to cor­rect this is­sue, as well as or­der­ing physi­cians are in the process of de­ter­min­ing if any un­viewed re­ports have had any im­pact on pa­tients.

Dr. Brahmbhatt said “We no­ti­fied the physi­cians that if any­one had any con­cern about any of those tests to con­tact us and we would fit them in right away, and we haven’t yet re­ceived any such no­ti­fi­ca­tion from any physi­cian.”

Ms. Goodyear said, with the Sleep Study is­sue there was a con­cern with staff around the time­li­ness that the is­sue was brought to the at­ten­tion of Cen­tral Health, and it has been dis­cussed with staff.

“The is­sue has cer­tainly been ad­dressed, and the staff mem­ber is very aware of the is­sue of the time­line and the im­pact of the time­line may have po­ten­tially had on pa­tients. At this point in time, it is still un­de­ter­mined if in­deed there is any pa­tient im­pact, but we’re al­ways deal­ing with po­ten­tial, and the staff per­son is cer­tainly aware in the terms of what the po­ten­tial im­pli­ca­tions around that par­tic­u­lar piece.

“I don’t see any re­oc­cur­ring is­sues in that area.”


Ms. Goodyear said qual­ity con­trol and pa­tient safety is of ma­jor con­cern to Cen­tral Health, and it is def­i­nitely an ev­ery­day pri­or­ity.

“In health care, we have many com­plex pro­cesses and prac­tices that have evolved over many years. That is why, through pa­tient safety ini­tia­tives, we are ex­am­in­ing the way we do things in a more fo­cused and com­pre­hen­sive way than we have ever be­fore.

“Our con­tin­ued and sus­tained fo­cus on qual­ity and pa­tient safety means more is­sues are be­ing brought for­ward. This cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove the sys­tem and the de­liv­ery of care. At Cen­tral Health, we are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ous qual­ity im­prove­ment, and safe pa­tient care is our pri­or­ity.”

Ms. Goodyear said Cen­tral Health apol­o­gizes to any pa­tients who may have en­coun­tered or ex­pe­ri­enced any type un­due hard­ship or un­nec­es­sary stress or wor­ry­ing around these is­sues.

Gan­der Beacon

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