Beware the risk of bad lab results


Beware the risk of bad lab results

Did you see the Canadian TV documentary “Motherisk hair testing scandal” documentary, or have you had experience with medical laboratory results that misled doctors or lawyers to harm patients? The inherent root problem is twofold and widespread:

  1. people with zero proof of competency in best practice assume responsibility for laboratory quality
  2. internal and external audits and inspections fail to reveal quality control practices that cannot be verified to guarantee acceptable patient care.

This should not have happened at Sick Children’s Hospital in 2015!


See the YouTube video and discussions here

Read the details:

Read more about the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory’s history and the scandal that engulfed it in this timeline by Rachel Mendleson of The Toronto Star.

1985: Motherisk is born

Dr. Gideon Koren, a clinical pharmacologist and toxicologist, creates the Motherisk Program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Within five years, Motherisk becomes a leading resource for pregnant and lactating women and their doctors about the effects of medication, alcohol and street drugs, and opens a research lab.

1999: From research to selling

The focus of Motherisk’s lab evolves from studying drugs in hair to selling its hair-testing services for use in child protection and criminal cases. Motherisk soon begins actively marketing the tests exposure to child welfare agencies as a means of quantifying drug use and exposure. (VIDEO – Phyllis Lovell describes sales pitch)

2000: Grounds for dismissal

Koren is fined and suspended for “repeatedly lying” and showing a “reckless dereliction of duty” for his conduct during a high-profile dispute with whistleblower colleague Dr. Nancy Olivieri. The former presidents of SickKids and the University of Toronto found his actions constituted “sufficient grounds for dismissal.” (VIDEO – Brenda Gallie clip)

2008: Red flags missed

The Goudge Inquiry into the devastating mistakes of Sick Kids forensic pathologist Charles Smith that tainted more than a dozen criminal cases exposes the dangers of performing forensic services without proper forensic training. No audit is conducted by SickKids to identify similar oversight lapses in other departments.

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