Edmonton Journal (10.29.11) - Monday, October 31, 2011
Ottawa's top attorney on Friday updated city officials on
details relating to an infection-control lapse at a local
endoscopy clinic. The city's medical officer of health will
seek help from Ontario province to cover the "unprecedented"
$750,000 (US $753,000) cost of responding to the situation,
Solicitor and City Clerk Rick O'Connor told city councilors in
The investigation will target some 6,800 people who were
patients of the clinic over a 10-year span, O'Connor said.
Typically Ottawa covers about 25 percent of the costs of
health department programs and services, with Ontario paying
the rest, he said.
"The medical officer of health was compelled by his mandate to
assess the situation and ultimately, to allocate public
resources toward investigating the public health implications
of the lapse, mailing letters to patients, and staffing a
dedicated information line," O'Connor said. Ontario's health
system "is structured such that taxpayer-funded public health
authorities bear costs associated with addressing public
health issues in the community."
"The medical officer of health was statutorily obligated to
assess, develop, and implement a response to address the very
low risk that patients and secondary contacts in the community
were exposed to hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and/or
[HIV], all of which are infectious and reportable diseases
that the medical officer of health is obligated to monitor and
control in the community," O'Connor noted.