Certain patients of Group Health Centre (GHC) physician, Dr. E.E. Beduhn are being recommended to seek testing for hepatitis B and hepatitis C and HIV. This notice is the result of Algoma Public Health’s (APH) investigation into an infection control lapse at the doctor’s office.
Any patient of Dr. Beduhn who believes they had one or more of the following minor surgical procedures – wart removal, suture removal and removal of superficial skin lesions – performed by the physician in his office practice, at 955 Queen Street, East, Sault Ste. Marie, is recommended to seek testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Registered letters are being sent out this week to directly notify patients who had one or more of the above mentioned minor surgical procedures on or after April 1, 1998. Any patient of Dr. Beduhn who believes they had a minor surgical procedure prior to April 1, 1998 at the 955 Queen Street East office is asked to contact the Dr. Beduhn, GHC or APH.
Information lines have been set up at the Group Health Centre (705-759-5584) and Algoma Public Health (705-759-8529 or 1-844-812-9183), and further information is also available on the APH website: www.algomapublichealth.com.
The GHC initially informed APH of a possible infection control breach at the physician’s office on November 5, 2015. The additional details provided on November 12, 2015 enabled APH to conduct their inspection on November 13, 2015. Based on this inspection and following consultation with infection control specialists at Public Health Ontario, APH’s Acting Medical Officer of Health confirmed that the lack of proper cleaning and sterilization of reusable surgical instruments used for minor surgical procedures at the 955 Queens Street East office potentially put patients at risk of being infected with hepatitis B and C and HIV.
“Patients should be aware that they may be at risk of infection with these viruses, particularly hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and have the opportunity to get tested,” says Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, APH Acting Medical Officer of Health. “We are supporting Dr. Beduhn, the Algoma District Medical Group, and the Group Health Centre in this notification and also want people to know that there are no concerns about infection control practices at this office as of October 28, 2015, or any other Group Health Centre office.”
Upon learning of this incident, the Group Health Centre immediately audited all physician practices to ensure compliance with GHC policies for cleaning and sterilizing of surgical instruments, and found no concerns. The infection control concerns in this incident are related to the above mentioned minor surgical procedures only conducted in Dr. E.E. Beduhn’s 955 Queen Street East office practice. No procedures performed by Dr. Beduhn outside of his office practice are under investigation.
“The Group Health Centre takes patient safety very seriously,” emphasizes Alex Lambert, Group Health Centre CEO. “We followed up immediately as soon as this came to our attention, and are working with our health care professionals and community partners to ensure this type of incident does not occur again.”
“I very much regret any anxiety or inconvenience this notification may cause. I am committed to supporting all of my patients through this process,” says Dr. Beduhn.
Under Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care protocols, public health is responsible for following up on all infection control complaints. Public health works in collaboration with affected premises to ensure corrective actions are taken and to conduct follow up including the notification of potentially affected individuals. New provincial disclosure policies require boards of health to post their initial and final investigation reports on their websites.
Algoma Public Health has a dedicated telephone line staffed with public health professionals to respond to questions regarding this issue: 705-759-8529 or 1-844-812-9183 Additional information is available on our website at www.algomapublichealth.com.