POLITICS

University of Regina says improper blood testing puts 100s at risk

10/09/2013 03:33 EDT | Updated 12/09/2013 05:12 EST
REGINA - The University of Regina says it has put hundreds of people at risk due to years of improper blood testing.

The university has issued a warning to more than 260 people who had "blood lactate level testing" done as part of kinesiology and health studies courses.

A nine-month audit found that between 2006 and 2012 an improper testing procedure was used on students during testing in second- and third-year exercise physiology classes, on volunteers participating in research projects, and with "fee for service" clients.

The head of the program, Dr. Harold Riemer, says the risk of blood-borne infections is very low, but the school doesn't want to take any chances.

A letter to past and present students who may have been affected says potential risks of exposure to HIV, hepatitis C and B ranges from a one in ten million chance of contracting HIV to a six in one million chance of catching hepatitis B.

In all, 267 people took the test during the six years, but their names were not catalogued, so the school is sending out 644 letters to past and present students to make sure everyone is reached.

"We should have been doing our jobs better," Riemer said in a news release Wednesday.

"We should have been more alert to keep our testing standards up-to-date. I want to apologize to everyone involved and assure them that we will do whatever is needed to make the situation right."

Dr. Maurice Hennick, the deputy medical health officer with the Regina Qu'appelle Health Region, said he agrees that everyone should be informed.

The procedure in question involved an instrument used to prick the finger of subjects to draw blood.

The lancet that pierced the skin was replaced with each patient but the holder part of the device was reused after being wiped with alcohol. The school says that once it learned that procedure was not up to current standards, processes were changed immediately.

(CJME)