LETTER – Group responds to doctor’s letter regarding pathology issues at North Island hospitals

Dear editor,

RE: Letter from Dr. David Robertson (Doctor responds to North Island pathology concerns on behalf of Island Health)

Dr. Robertson makes three claims in his letter:

• Island Health is not planning to remove pathology labs and services from North Island Hospitals

• The only recent change was in April 2019 when “consultation of clinical pathology samples” was transferred out of the Campbell River Hospital, to Nanaimo and Victoria testing is done by “pathologists with additional training”

• Turnaround times have improved since this change was made.

Our response:

1. Removal of clinical pathology consultation from the Campbell River Hospital lab does not simply mean that something that was done “here” is now done “there.” There are other consequences – our hospital used to have several technologists who prepared samples for testing. Most of that work is no longer done here but what remains has to be done by the pathologists which means they are delayed in doing their own work. Removal of clinical pathology consultation means a reduction in funding – the hospital needs 3 full-time pathologists to allow for coverage during vacations or other leaves but is only funded for 2.4. Island Health actions are eroding lab services and one can predict that at a certain point the service will be so fractured that it will be ‘logical’ to close it down. It’s called wrecking – cripple the service, declare it’s not working, then take it away.

2. We were promised the same or more services in the new hospitals. Removing clinical pathology consultation represents a decrease in local services.

3. About turnaround times (TATs), the critical issue is not the turnaround time per se, but the ability of the team, the treating doctor and the lab staff to treat each patient appropriately. Take the example of the emergency department. An otherwise healthy young adult patient with a suspected wrist sprain may wait for three hours to be treated. During those three hours a patient with life-threatening internal injuries from a car accident, and a patient with a severed artery who has ten minutes to live without treatment, will be treated. No one suggests that if the average wait time is three hours it is good care if all are treated within three hours. So it is with clinical pathology testing. The doctor testing for a life-threatening condition requiring immediate treatment needs that patient’s results sooner than those for routine testing in an otherwise healthy patient.

At a town hall meeting on Feb. 9 the community was informed about what Island Health is doing to our local labs and what the consequences are for patient care. The condescending manner in which Dr. Robertson dismisses the concerns of the community for the erosion of the lab and the harm to patients is not what we expect from Island Health leadership.

Lois Jarvis, Joanne Banks, Richard Hagensen and Barb Biley,

Vancouver Island

Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

No unused COVID-19 vaccines are going to waste at the end of… Continue reading

Where urban and natural landscapes meet can be a very interesting place. The Museum at Campbell River and Greenways Land Trust are hosting a talk on Earth Day on that topic. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Where urban and natural meet

Earth Day talk looks at urban biodiversity

Ryan Rasmussen goes on a training run on Quadra Island. Photo supplied.
Quadra Island man to run 160 km to raise funds for alternative cancer care

‘I feel like I need to be in pain to raise the money… I can’t do something that’s easy’ — Ryan Rasmussen

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

Ali Ellsworth is passionate about doing her part for Mother Earth and can be seen eagerly and happily cleaning up garbage around her Holm Road neighborhood, on a regular basis. She is a contestant in the Second Annual Small Planet Clean-up . Photo contributed
Ali does her part for Mother Earth by cleaning up around her neighbourhood

The Small Planet Energy team are thrilled to introduce you to a… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

Most Read