Three misdiagnosed cancer cases which were thought to be 'clinically significant' did not actually result in any patients getting inappropriate or inadequate treatment, according the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Diagnostic Services of Manitoba

Health officials said Wednesday that the review underway into the work of a pathologist now on leave has so far not uncovered a case in which a patient required additional treatment as a result of an incorrect or incomplete pathology report.

Dr. Brock Wright, WRHA Vice President and Chief Medical Officer said the interim report should be reassuring for the public.

"Initially, we had three cases where we thought there might be some impact for the patient - that they might require additional therapy," he said. "But after the physicians met with those patients, the doctors informed us that was not the case."

All three patients had prostate cancer and there were questions whether or not radiotherapy should be provided in addition to the surgery that had already been done.

The review is examining hundreds of cases done by one pathologist, launched after two smaller reviews found errors in 10 cancer cases where the pathologist made errors determining the severity of the disease.

Dr. Wright added that the review was originally launched out of an abundance of caution, with patient safety being the primary focus.

The WRHA has so far found that:

  • of the initial 35 cases reviewed internally by a DSM pathologist, none had any significant clinical impact that required any change in treatment.
  • of the first 289 cases now reviewed by the external pathologist, 14 had been flagged for further review.
  • Twelve of those 14 cases had no clinical impact. One of these patients has since died from causes unrelated to their pathology report.
  • The two remaining cases are still under review by pathology.

The external review will now move into its second phase and will begin examining the most complex cases the pathologist handled over the past year - starting with the most recent first - and then work backwards chronologically.

The WRHA said physicians, patients, and the public will be notified immediately if the review uncovers any new cases with significant findings.

As of May 12, 277 people have called the WRHA Inquiry Line (788-8004). Three people called Tuesday.

The WRHA said the pathologist in question will remain on leave while the review is underway.