Woodstock, Ont. OB


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Aug 04, 2023

Woodstock, Ont. OB

Patients of a Woodstock, Ont., OB-GYN are being asked by local health officials to get tested after an inspection last month revealed a failure of provincially mandated infection prevention and

Patients of a Woodstock, Ont., OB-GYN are being asked by local health officials to get tested after an inspection last month revealed a failure of provincially mandated infection prevention and control (IPAC) practices at the private clinic.

According to Southwestern Public Health, the inspection of Dr. Donald David Snider’s clinic, located at 716 Dundas St. in Woodstock, found IPAC lapses related to the sterilization of medical equipment, something which raises the risk of the transmission of blood-borne infections, including Hep. B, Hep. C, or HIV, in medical settings, it said.

While there has been no evidence that disease transmission has occurred, patients who received certain medical procedures at the clinic between Jan. 1, 2020, and Sept. 12, 2022, are being advised to get tested, said Dr. Ninh Tran, the medical officer of health for Elgin and Oxford counties and St. Thomas, in a statement.

The procedures in question include IUD insertion and removal, endometrial biopsy, endocervical polyp removal, vaginal examination, vulvar biopsy, pap tests, and pessary fittings, officials said.

“Following the investigation, my initial assessment is that the risk of acquiring such an infection from improperly sterilized medical equipment in this setting is anticipated to be very low,” Tran said. Patients, however, were still being asked to get tested for Hepatitis B and C and HIV as a precaution.

The health unit says impacted patients will be notified by letter, and will be given lab testing information. Those who test positive for a blood-borne infection will be contacted about the next steps for them and other members of their household.

The health unit says its investigation was launched after a complaint was received about the clinic.

When inspectors visited Snider’s clinic last month, they discovered that its autoclave, a machine which uses pressurized steam to sterilize medical equipment, was not functioning properly and had not been tested routinely, the brief IPAC lapse report issued by the health unit states.

Tran later explained to Global News that it wasn’t clear when the autoclave stopped working appropriately, so officials chose the extended time period to cover when the clinic first opened to when the health unit got involved.

“There were attempts for cleaning and sanitizing, it just was done not appropriately and up to standards, which is why when we did testing ourselves we found it wasn’t working up to standards,” Tran said in an interview.

It’s unclear yet how many patients have been impacted.

According to Tran, Snider is working with the health unit and is actively participating in the investigation and supporting the notification of patients.

In addition, Tran says Snider has made required changes to his IPAC practices, and has stopped using reprocessed instruments and has switched to using disposable ones instead.

“He’s been cooperative with us throughout the investigation, following our recommendations of stopping use of instruments that are reprocessed and switching practise to reduce the risk of infection, as well as supporting us through notification,” Tran said.

“Our focus is really improving practise and reducing risk of infections, and he’s fully cooperating.”

The IPAC lapse report notes that further investigation is underway. The health unit says it consulted with Public Health Ontario, and informed the Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) about the findings.

Snider’s CPSO registry listing shows he has been an active member of the college since May 1990, and graduated from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1983.

In addition to his private clinic, he also has practising privileges at Grey Bruce Health Services in Owen Sound, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, and Woodstock General Hospital, the listing states.

Those looking to speak with someone from the health unit are asked to complete this form, or leave a message at 1-800-922-0096 ext. 5000.