Accountability crucial as patients learn of wrong chemo doses

Posted April 3, 2013
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Ontario’s healthcare system must be held accountable after almost 1,000 patients in the province allegedly received watered-down chemotherapy treatment for diseases that included cancers of the breast, lung and bladder, says Toronto class action lawyer Alan Farrer. Read Toronto Star

Ontario’s cancer care agency recently revealed news that the patients, treated within the last year, were given chemotherapy containing a lower dose of medication than was prescribed, the Star reports.

Seventeen patients at Windsor Regional Hospital have died since starting their therapy, the report says, noting the defective intravenous treatment was discovered by a pharmacy technician at a Peterborough hospital late last month.

The premixed medication, shipped out to at least four hospitals in Ontario (Windsor Regional Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, Lakeridge Health, Peterborough Regional Health Centre) and one in New Brunswick by a Mississauga supplier (Marchese Hospital Solutions), contained too high a percentage of saline solution, diluting the chemotherapy agent, the report says.

All of the affected hospitals are in the process of contacting the affected patients or their families, the article adds.

“It’s just impossible to imagine what families are going through as they’re told the chemotherapy treatment they were relying on was watered down,” says Farrer, managing partner with Thomson Rogers. “They’re going to be devastated. It’s going to haunt them.”

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