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International News

Canada: Montreal Hospital Says No HIV Cases Yet From HIV-Positive Doc

March 30, 2004

Ste-Justine Hospital said Monday that no affected patients have tested positive for HIV in tests conducted after the hospital learned a surgeon who operated on 2,600 children there in 1990-2003 was HIV-infected. The surgeon died in August. Blood samples from 2,175 patients were tested at the hospital or at private laboratories.

Hospital officials said Ste-Justine reached 85 percent of the surgeon's patients by registered mail or telephone after it discovered her HIV status in January. Although the risk of infection was very low, according to a hospital statement, "the hospital wanted to be sure, beyond any doubt, and to reassure the parents and children that no patient had been infected."

Dr. Lucie Poitras, director of professional services, said the remaining 15 percent of patients fell into one of two main categories: people who did not want to be tested and people with whom the hospital had lost touch. She added that an 85 percent response rate is "quite exceptional."

In its statement, the hospital apologized to the families and patients who had been upset by the discovery of the surgeon's condition. More than 13,000 calls deluged the hospital's two call centers when the story went public in mid-January.

Hospital administrators insist they did not know of the surgeon's infection until this year, although her supervisor and a committee of doctors knew about her serostatus in 1991. The Quebec Medical Association has since adopted a policy requiring doctors to disclose their HIV-positive status to employers while protecting the physician's confidentiality.

Back to other news for March 30, 2004

Adapted from:
Canadian Press
03.29.04; Brian Daly

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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