Thousands Of Patients At Clinic In Canada Need To Get Tested For HIV Because Of Unclean Equipment

The incident speaks to larger problems in the Canadian healthcare system
Senior Editor
Thousands Of Patients At Clinic In Canada Need To Get Tested For HIV Because Of Unclean Equipment

The Canadian healthcare system is pretty controversial.

While it is lauded for its accessibility and coverage, especially in contrast to the chaotic healthcare system in the United States, a lack of resources and dearth of medical professionals produce tremendously long wait times and can even endanger patients.

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That's what happened at a clinic in Ottawa. Health Canada has halted procedures at the Main Street Family Medical Centre after receiving a tip that employees were inadequately sanitizing medical equipment.

Now, the over four thousants patients that have come in contact with that equipment over the last fifteen years should be tested for HIV and hepatitis A and C, according to officials.

At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, before strict regulations for the sanitization of equipment, medical professionals unwittingly transfered HIV to thousands of patients.

Today such risk is low, and there are ways to halt the development of AIDS in humans. There are also resources available to people who are HIV positive. But HIV testing is standard procedure for patients exposed to equipment that came into contact with other blood and bodily fluids.

Canadian medical facilities are dogged with complaints of malpractice. During the heatwave in southern Quebec that killed over one hundred people, one Montreal hospital was unable to provide air conditioning to its hundreds of patients. Instead, hospital employees gathered patients in hallways away from the windows.

Aging medical infrastructure and an overloaded healthcare system only exacerbate problems.

While the Canadian healthcare system is incomparable to that in the United States, unsafe incidentsare sure to multiply in Canada if provincial and federal governments don't address the vicious cycle of mounting problems in medical service. 


Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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