The Quebec College of Physicians says no disciplinary measures will be taken after 2,600 children were operated on by a doctor who died of complications from AIDS.
The Quebec College of Physicians says no disciplinary measures will be taken after 2,600 children were operated on by a doctor who died of complications from AIDS. The college conducted an inquiry after Ste-Justine Hospital went public in January and asked former patients of Dr. Maria Di Lorenzo to be tested for HIV. Di Lorenzo, who died last August, had contracted the human immunodeficiency virus in 1990 and told her superiors a year later. The college said Thursday it found no basis for disciplinary action against the handful of doctors who knew Di Lorenzo was HIV-positive but who failed to notify senior hospital administrators of her condition. “These physicians were stuck with their feeling of confidentiality, of being a friend of Dr. Di Lorenzo, with their emotions,” said Dr. Yves Lamontagne, head of the college. “This is a human problem and we have to be human with human beings. “If we are pushing on discipline instead of bringing physicians out of the closet, we will just have more clandestine activity and that’s not what we want.” The college said its investigation showed Di Lorenzo took all necessary precautions to ensure safe medical practices at the hospital. The hospital set up a supervisory committee to monitor her surgeries but patients were never informed until this January she had HIV. But the college admitted there was insufficient and inadequate medical follow-up of Di Lorenzo’s state of health by those few physicians who were in the know. The college also said numerous changes in the hospital’s administration didn’t help the situation and contributed to guidelines for doctors with HIV not being completed. Lamontagne said doctors should inform the college of any medical condition that could affect the quality of care or restrict their capacity to help patients. Ste-Justine announced earlier this week the recall was over, even though the hospital was unable to contact 15 per cent of the people on Di Lorenzo’s list of patients. A total of 2,175 children were tested – all were negative – but the hospital has yet to screen 385 youngsters.(Source: Canada.com Health Network, April 2004)