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University of Regina Issues Notice Regarding Improper Blood Test

News Release Release Date: October 9, 2013 10:30 a.m.

The University of Regina Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies announced today that it would be taking immediate steps to ensure the health and safety of current and former students following the discovery that improper blood testing procedures had been used for in-class testing with students, on research participants and with fee for service clients.The University of Regina carried out a thorough audit to determine if this had occurred in any of its faculties. The audit determined that several faculty and staff members with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies had conducted the improper procedure over the past six years, this procedure was corrected in 2012.

“Public Health Services has assured us that the risks from this situation are very low but we are not going to take any chances. Over the past nine months, we have undertaken a review of the entire university to put together a comprehensive list of every past and current students, research participants and fee for service clients, dating back to 2006, who might have been affected by the procedure,” said Dr. Harold Riemer, Dean of Kinesiology and Health Studies..

The procedure involved a test that used a two-part finger-prick device composed of a lancet and a holder. Faculty members followed a previous standard practice that involved replacing the lancet for each test but reusing the holder after wiping it with alcohol. Faculty members were not aware that the practice was no longer being used within standard medical procedures. University of Regina faculties discontinued the procedure in December 2012.

The University estimates that 267 individuals took the improper test between 2006 and 2012. However, since names of the participants were not kept, the University is sending out letters to 644 current and former students to ensure that information reaches anyone who might be affected.

“Although the risk of acquiring blood borne infections in the described scenario is very small, we agree that it is best for the university to proactively inform all persons who may have had an exposure,” said Dr. Maurice Hennink, Deputy Medical Health Officer with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. “We also caution that measures must immediately be put in place to ensure that a similar incident does not occur.”

“We owe it to our students and alumni, research participants and fee-for-service clients to be as thorough as humanly possible in getting the word out,” said Dr. Riemer.

While Dr. Riemer said the risk to individuals is very low, he nonetheless expressed regret for any concern or anxiety the situation could cause.

“We should have been doing our jobs better. We should have been more alert to keep our testing standards more 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,” said Dr. Riemer.

 

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