Deputy Minister Received Complaints about Disgraced Pathologist: New Brunswick

by John McKiggan

The first witness at an inquiry into flawed pathology services at a New Brunswick hospital testified that she received complaints about Dr. Rajgopal Menon, the pathologist whose botched cancer screening test results lead to the inquiry.

But former Deputy Minister of Health apparently did not consider the complaints to be serious. The Canadian Press has reported that Nora Kelly testified that:

… there were general comments from his colleagues about his slow work habits, his tardiness and missing slides, but no one suggested his work might be sub-standard.

“They didn’t like the way he operated, but they never said that he was incompetent,” Kelly told commissioner Paul Creaghan, a retired judge.

You can read more about the situation in previous posts:

Negligent Cancer Screening Put Patients at Risk: Miramichi Hospital and
Negligent Cancer Screening in New Brunswick May Lead to Criminal Charges and Medical Malpractice Claims.

Kelly’s testimony hints at larger problems to come. She said there is a critical shortage of pathologists across the country. “Maybe 30 pathologists” graduated last year, and there has never been a year when more than 50 entered the system.

“It’s not getting any better. Everybody is getting older. . . . There’s going to come a point where, for patient safety, we’ll not be able to offer certain services. Nobody wants to hear about this or talk about it, but frankly I’m convinced that may very well happen.”


With health care spending consuming an ever increasing share of provincial budgets, a world wide shortage of medical specialists, and an aging population in need more medical care it appears that cracks are starting to appear in Canada’s health care system.

What can we do to fix the problem? More money for medical schools to train doctors? Allow more foreign trained doctors to practice in Canada? Privatization of parts of the health care system? What do you think?

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