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Embed code for: A Brief History Of Medical Laboratory Technology in Newfoundland
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Medical Laboratory Technology has always fascinated me and rightly so since I spend thirty-nine years of my life dedicated to that profession in Newfoundland and Labrador. How I happened to end up in that profession was by chance rather than choice. During my University days while studying Pre-Dental I was successful in obtaining summer employment as an Orderly in the St. John's General Hospital for three summers from 1961-1963. During those summer periods only once did I enter the Laboratory and that was on my scheduled second last evening of work during August 1963. While on duty in the Emergency Ward that evening on the last Thursday before the Labor Day Weekend, and my termination as summer relief, I was send to the Laboratory with a sample of blood for a procedure called the Cross Match. In other words to have a patient's blood tested and matched for a blood transfusion.
I intently watched the technologist on duty that evening as he performed and explained the procedure to me and I was in awe. The next morning I was on the doorstep of the Director of Laboratory Medicine, Dr J. E Josephson with an application for employment. I had by now completed four years of University and was taking a year off before applying to Dalhousie to study dentistry. I was successful in getting a job and was asked if I would consider enrolling in the New Class of students who were studying for Certification as Registered Technologists in the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists (CSLT), the governing body for Laboratory Technologists in Canada.
I did join the Class and was successful in obtaining a General Registration (1965). Although my training prepared me to work in any of the major disciplines, I was assigned to the Biochemistry Laboratory under Dr L.A.W. Feltham. I continued to work in Biochemistry and in a few years was chief Technologist. Eventually (2001) I retired as Director of Laboratory Medicine at The Health Care Cooperation of St. John's. In 1967 I was elected President of the Newfoundland Branch of the CSLT. Throughout my entire working career I had always held senior management positions and was directly involved in most major decisions related to Laboratory Medicine. I was also very active in the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists. I was the chair of two committees that were responsible for the scientific programs in Clinical Biochemistry at the National level. I also was a major researcher on several scientific papers published in international laboratory journals. I give this brief history of me only to show that I am qualified to pen this brief history.
HISTORY IN NEWFOUNDLAND
Medical Laboratories have been around for many years and many great people have made great discoveries in the Laboratory that has changed the way medicine has been delivered. The Laboratory has evolved from hospital back rooms where the Physician would perform certain primitive tests to very complex sophisticated Laboratories that Physicians need in order to provide modern medical care. Certainly no modern Hospital could function without access to a full functioning Laboratory. Although it is often referred to as the Laboratory it is actually a full hospital department that is made up of several Scientific Specialties.Laboratories are often one of the bigger departments with respect to, human, financial and physical resources of modern hospitals.
My research found very little reference to early Laboratory Medicine in NL, but I did find some items that are of interest and could be considered as Laboratory procedures although probably not performed by dedicated Laboratory professionals at the time, probably performed by Practicing Physicians.
In 1630 Wm Vaughan (NL Encyclopedia Vol. 3 p 490) who was one of the Islands most enthusiastic colonizers had given us the 'Newfoundland cure'. His advice was based on Galenic Theories in which disease was seen as a disordered adjustment of the individual to his environment and the body was seen as a system of intake and outgo. Therapeutic efforts were directed towards restoring the bodies equilibrium by evacuating morbid matters through methods such as bloodletting and sweat induced procedures. Although performed in a significantly different manner these procedures today would probably be considered laboratory procedures.
In the 1871 the St. John's Hospital, which was established in 1814 as a military hospital that was located at the junction of Quidi Vidi and Forest Rd. was converted to a civilian hospital and by 1880 it became the General Hospital.
It was during the 1870's with the evolution of germ theory that microscopic organisms were beginning to be identified and seen as responsible for infectious disease. Towards the end of the1800's Public Health Laboratories were beginning to be developed and Medicine was becoming more of a Science and physicians could call on Clinical, Pathological and Laboratory Techniques, Microscopy, Chemical and Bacteriological testing. The beginning of modern Laboratory Medicine. Although there had been Medical Health Officers before, in 1890 Dr. Philip T Hubert and in 1895 Dr. Kenneth D McKenzie it was in 1905 that the position became a permanent position. Dr. Robert Almon Brehm was appointed to the position, his salary funded jointly by the Newfoundland Government and the St. John's Municipal Council. He reported to the Council. In 1906 the Government established a Laboratory to assist Dr. Brehm. At the same time they opened the Fever Hospital on the General Hospital grounds to treat infectious diseases. The governor at the time Sir Wm MacGregor, himself a physician who had recovered from Tuberculosis had been instrumental in the hiring of Dr. Brehm and in1908 because of the widespread prevalence of Tuberculosis started a medical campaign and one of the results was the building of a modern Medical Laboratory. In1935 Dr. Brehm organized the first Public Health Laboratory Diagnostics Services and established a system for mailing specimens to the Laboratory from all areas of Newfoundland. In 1936 Dr. Brehm's position was retired by the government but the St. John's Municipal Council refused to go along with the decision and retained him on salary as medical Health Officer for St. John's.
In 1906, there was a small room located in the Fever Hospital, adjacent to the General Hospital on Forest Road, it was here that the first Laboratory was located. Later it moved to the Customs House, later still to the Renouf Building on Duckworth Street in St. John's. In 1919, it was moved to the Militia Building. In the 1920's it was located in the Seaman's Institute and then to the top floor of the Newfoundland Museum Building on Duckworth Street. It was moved to the Sudbury Hospital on the corner of Water Street West and Sudbury Street. The Sudbury Hospital at the time was considered the Welfare Hospital. Because of a fire in this building the laboratory was then moved to an office in the attic of the Court House. After repairs, the Laboratory was moved back to the Sudbury Location. The Sudbury Hospital itself was opened in June 1920 to provide Medical Care to ex-servicemen. It had 28 beds and a large outpatient department. In 1941, the Laboratory moved again to the newly constructed government building on Water Street East. , the same building the Fishery Research Laboratory was later located and still later the St. John's Harbor Authority. Located in the basement and on part of the first floor, this new Public Health Laboratory had a bacteriology Laboratory with a section for T.B. Cultures, a Biochemistry Laboratory, a Serology Laboratory, Stockroom, Media Room, and Offices. It also housed animals that were used at the time for laboratory testing. For example Guinea Pigs for identification of tuberculosis, Rabbits, and frogs for pregnancy testing and Sheep to supply blood for serological testing. Having these animals on site was a great help since before this, the technical staff would have to go to a local farm to obtain fresh Sheep's Blood. The basement section was where two Government Analysts were located. The Analysts were Mr. Joseph Healy and Mr. John Newman. I also had the honor to have worked with Mr. Healy who would have retired in the very Early 1960's. Some of the procedures that I did while training with him were such things as checking buildings or cargo boats for Carbon Monoxide or other gasses and also checking confiscated moonshine for alcohol content and blood samples for alcohol.
In 1960, the Laboratory was added as a new modern Hospital Laboratory to a newly constructed wing of the General Hospital on Forest Road. It also now housed the City Morgue which included Forensic Medicine. In 1978, the General Hospital, including the Laboratory was relocated to the new location off Prince Philip Parkway in St. John's called the Health Sciences Center. It was now affiliated with the main teaching site for the Medical School associated with Memorial University of Newfoundland and thus the main teaching hospital for student physicians. This would have major implications for the Laboratory which now became associated with the Medical School. The Laboratory at the old General Hospital on Forest Rd in St. John's then became the site for the NL Public Health Laboratories and still is in 2015.
This history relates to the laboratory that was associated with The General Hospital. It was considered the main Medical Laboratory in Newfoundland and Labrador and considered the reference laboratory for the province. This was the largest Laboratory in the province, but it must be emphasized that Laboratory services were offered at all Hospitals in the province. All Laboratories were under the direction of Pathologists, but the Reference Laboratory associated located in the general hospital and later the Health Sciences also had Clinical Scientists, usually at the MSc or Ph.D. level associated with the various disciplines and from 1980 Biochemistry was under the direction of a Medical Biochemist. From mid-1990's Microbiology was under the direction of a Medical Microbiologist. Medical Hematologists were always associated with Hematology and Cytology was under the direction of Cytopathologists. There were also Pathologists with Specialized in specific areas such as Neuro and Muscle. It was at this laboratory that the City Morgue was located and all Forensic pathology was conducted. It should be noted that from 1962 onwards there was always a qualified Forensic Pathologist on Staff. They were in the order of appearance 1962-1972 Dr. Youg-Myun Rho, Dr. Nobby C Mambo, Dr. Peter Markestyn, Dr. Eric Pike, Dr. Charles Hutton and 1990's Dr Simon Avis. I myself was certified as a Government Analyst which qualified me to perform many of the Forensic Testing.
In the early days, laboratory services were very basic and was mostly in testing and diagnosing Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Typhoid, and Venereal Disease. During late 1930's and Early 1940's laboratory services were practically limited to the following areas.
Bacteriology-- throat swabs for diphtheria identification, Urine and stool specimens for typhoid fever, isolation and identification of gonorrhea and sputum testing for Tuberculosis.
Chemistry __urinalysis, blood urea, blood sugar
Hematology __blood counts and blood smears
Parasitology __identification of tapeworms, roundworms, and pinworms
Serology __Khan testing for syphilis
Tissue Pathology __surgical and autopsy specimens for identification
Before 1935, all Laboratory Services were performed in St. John's. The specimens were transported to St John's. I did find a reference in the Newfoundland Quarterly vol. 100 No. 1. 2007, that Twillingate was adequately equipped 1937-1939 to undertake bacteriological and radiological, and basic blood work and in 1939 it acquired an ECG machine. The hospital annual report showed that during this time period the number of diagnostic procedures increased from 1,821 in 1937 to2,615 in 1939, with laboratory tests (blood, urine, bacteriology and so on) leading the way. That same report goes on to say that the Twillingate Hospital had become an institution comparable to most rural hospitals in North America: indeed it says it is reasonable to surmise that given the diversity of the case load, the high quality of its medical staff, and its technological sophistication this hospital ought to be considered a leader among its peers at this time. Twillingate Hospital at that time had arrangements for training of Physicians with the prestigious Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, a leading Medical School in the United States.
In 1946 the military ship 'Sherwater' was converted to a floating x-ray unit and called the 'Christmas Seal' Under Capt. Peter Troake she sailed the NL coast mainly to perform x-rays for TB, but they also did some testing for diabetes and cystic fibrosis. Today the later procedures would be considered Laboratory procedures.
I will now discuss the history of Medical Laboratory Technology in Newfoundland and Labrador with most emphasis on the evolution of the training programs with relationship to National Registration and really the development into a major profession. I am very thankful to the late Eric Hutchings who before his death gave to me a lot of notes he had prepared on the emergence of Laboratory Technology in Newfoundland. Eric was a pioneer in the profession and a major player in the formation of the NL branch of the CSLT and the development of the training programs in Medical Sciences at the Collage of the North Atlantic. Much of the material I referenced about the 1930's to the 1960's in this article will come from material written almost entirely from Mr. Hutchings notes. I have also access to all the minutes of the NL branch of the CSLT from the first meeting up to the1990's and those of the previous Newfoundland Society of Medical Laboratory Personnel.
It was during World War 1 that the profession of Medical Laboratory Technology really had its beginnings in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1918, a man by the name of William Alfred Rowe, a member of the armed forces, was a medical orderly who worked at the Seaman's Institute, which was located in the King George V Institute on Water Street in St. John's. After the war, Mr. Rowe (from Heart's Content) was sent to Dalhousie University in Halifax for a six-month training course in Laboratory procedures and techniques. In 1920, Mr. Rowe worked at the Seaman's Institute. The early days the Laboratory was identifiable with mainly Mr. William A Rowe. Mr. Rowe took blood samples and assisted in medical examinations of men who had enlisted in the armed Forces and he also performed all the Laboratory Procedures In 1949 Mr. Rowe was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for outstanding public service. Mr. Rowe retired in 1959.
During the 1940's Equipment and supplies were rather limited and Mr. Rowe told us he often took some glassware such as beakers and flasks to his home on Pennywell Road where he often would sterilize them in the oven of his coal-burning kitchen stove.
Mr. Rowe worked with Dr. Brehm, the Government Pathologist, doing laboratory tests for diphtheria, typhoid, tuberculosis, etc. Dr. Brehm headed up the Public Health Laboratory from early 1920's to 1935 when he retired.Dr. Brehm was succeeded by Dr. Ainsley in 1936, who was in turn succeeded in by Dr. J.E. Josephson who was appointed as Government Pathologist July 31, 1938. I will reference Dr. Josephson later.
On November 16, 1936, a young high school graduate by the name of Edward P Cochrane began work at the Sudbury Hospital Laboratory. I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Cochrane for many years and he was a great technologist, mentor, and teacher. Mr. Cochrane worked at the Laboratory for over 40 years and when he retired he started a family business called Shady Brook Nurseries. Others working at the Sudbury Laboratory were Miss Florence Mews and Mr. Clarence Roberts. All pioneers in Medical Laboratory in Newfoundland.
In 1937 The Canadian Society Of Laboratory Technologists (CSLT) was formed in Hamilton Ontario and on May 20,1937 received a Dominion Charter of Incorporation. This was the Society that became responsible for training, examining, and licensing Laboratory Technologists in Canada. Newfoundland was not a province of Canada at that time. Shortly after the CSLT was formed an invitation was extended to laboratory workers with experience, working in Newfoundland , to become members of the CSLT. Three people from Newfoundland became members. They were Mr. W.A.Rowe, Miss Florence Mews and Mr. Charles Roberts. Those three Newfoundlanders were in the first 100 members to join the C.S.L.T.in the year of its incorporation.
In 1939 a new Government Pathologist by the name of Dr. J.E Josephson, a graduate of Queen's University (1934) was appointed Director of Laboratories and Pathologist for Newfoundland.(Can.Doc. 1966). Dr Josephson or Dr Joe as he was often referred to continued to work as a pathologist full time until 1975 but continued as part-time consulting Pathologist until 1990's. I myself worked under Dr Josephson for about 20 years. Dr Josephson was often referred to as the father of Medical Technology in Newfoundland and Labrador. I quote from Dr. Josephson , from a copy of his notes to the graduating class of 1969 "a few of us can recollect when Laboratory Services, both Public Health and Clinical, for the whole of Newfoundland and Labrador only touched the most simple basic procedures and were done from two attic rooms in the old Sudbury building. Subsequently when the spectrum of procedures offered were considerably enlarged, they were done in small quarters, regarded in those days as luxurious, housed in what is now the Fisheries Research Station Building on Water Street East. During this later period it became obvious to us that in order to provide the basic diagnostic studies needed for good in-patient and out-patient care in our hospitals internal laboratory units were required and to this end we were eventually instrumental in establishing small laboratories in the General Hospital and then later setting up similar units in other hospitals throughout the province."
Dr. Josephson was at one time Director of Laboratories for Newfoundland. In the early 1940's a blood bank for transfusion services was established in Newfoundland under the Direction of Dr. Josephson. In 1958 the Newfoundland government transferred control of the Blood Banking Services to the Canadian Red Cross.
During the early 1940's there was very little formal training except at the bench level. In 1943, two sisters from St. Clare's Hospital were sent to Toronto for additional training They were Sister Mary Fabian and Sister St. John. Sister Fabian went on to do further training in nursing and later became Executive Director of St Clare's Mercy Hospital. Sister St. John was sent to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto to study for her R.T. (Registered Technologist). Having obtained her R.T., she returned to St. Clare's and worked as a Laboratory Technologist and later worked as a Nurse at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Toronto.
In 1944, Edward Cochrane wrote and passed the C.S.L.T. examinations. he actually received no formal training, he was able to obtain a copy of the syllabus and with minimal assistance studied the various Laboratory Disciplines. In 1948, Chester Rowe passed the R.T. examinations. Chester was the son of William and worked at the American Armed Forces Hospital at Pepperell and later in the Biology Department at Memorial University. The American Armed Forces Hospital at Pepperell later became the Charles A. Janeway Child Health Center.
In 1949 saw Newfoundland becoming a Province of Canada and a new era began with respect to health care for all Newfoundlanders.
In 1950, Ottawa began to direct funds to help Newfoundland upgrade many services and Federal Health Grants became available to assist in training and fund staff positions. Because there were very limited training in the health at the provincial level, university graduates were given financial assistance and send to mainland universities and hospitals for post-graduate training. Some people with Bachelor's Degrees were sent to the mainland for Professional training. Three such were Ralph W Butler, Paul W Fardy and L.A. Woodrow Feltham. All three commenced working in the Laboratory in the late 1940's earned their Ph.D. in their respective field. Woodrow Feltham in Biochemistry and Ralph Butler and Paul Fardy in Microbiology. All three worked in the field their entire working care. Dr. Feltham left the clinical laboratory in the 1960's to become the first Director of the Department of Biochemistry at Memorial University of NL. Dr. Butler was Chief Microbiologist at the General Hospital Laboratory until it moved to The Health Sciences site at which time he became the First Director of the new Public Health Laboratory. He retired in 1987. Dr. Fardy was appointed Associate Microbiologist and in 1987 became Chief Microbiologist at the Health Science Center. In 1989, he was appointed Director of the Public Health Laboratory, retiring in1993.
At this time, there was practically no technical training in the health fields going on in the province even though the demand for services was increasing.Dr. Josephson had some success in filling some new technically positions with people who had completed one or more years of science courses at the old Memorial University College. The people appointed to those new technical positions were given on the bench training in laboratory procedures and techniques. On October 2, 1950, three people were appointed to the Public Health Laboratory on Federal Public Health Grants. They were Miss Sheila Kelly,(later Gushue) , Miss Audrey Lovelace, (later Tobin) and Mr. Eric Hutchings. I have no proof of this nor do I know the religion of those people, but I did find a reference that there was one each from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and United Church faith.
Expansion of Medical Services, across the province in most fields, began under Commission Of Government in 1940's and expanded after confederation. At this time the counterpart of the Laboratory, X-ray, also was expanding. In September 1949, another pioneer in Health Services in Newfoundland and Labrador was hired, Mr. John Hearn. He was instrumental in the expansion and training of personnel in X-ray.
In 1952, an eight-month training course consisting of two moths didactic training in both Laboratory and X-ray was started. this course also gave three months practical training in both Laboratory and X-ray. This course was co-ordinated by Mr. E Hutchings and Mr. J Hearn. The students in this course were sponsored by Federal Health Grants and the students were send to the various Cottage Hospitals in the Province. Graduates of this course, which continue to provide valuable services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. There were students from N.S., N.B, and P.E.I. trained in this program.
In 1952, Dr. Ian Rusted a specialist in Internal Medicine with Post Graduate training from the prestigious Mayo Clinic was appointed by the Provincial Department of Health as a consultant. He was very interested in expanding laboratory Services to the Cottage Hospitals and in 1952 he and Mr. E Hutchings traveled by car to Grand Bank, after consultation with Dr. John Burke the Medical Chief at Grand Bank Hospital, a Laboratory was established. The services that were offered were Blood Sugar, Blood Urea, Cerebral Spinal Fluid Analysis, Urinalysis, basic testing for the identification of T.B, Meningitis, and Staphylococcus as well as the Kahn test for Syphilis. Mr. Hutchings then continued to Harbor Breton to set up services and Dr. Rusted went to Burin and St. Lawrence for consultations. Other cottage hospital visits were made to Brookfield, Burgeo, Twillingate, Port Aux Basques, Bonne Bay. Visits were also to St. Anthony, Grand Falls and the West Coast Sanatorium in Corner Brook.
In 1950, limited laboratory procedures were carried out at the Public Health Laboratories on Water Street and at the General Hospital on Forest Rd to assist doctors in diagnosing diseases. Dr. J.E. Josephson was the Laboratory Director at the Public Health Laboratories on Water Street East and he was also the director of Laboratories at The General Hospital on Forest road. At this time, there were very limited laboratory services at the other four St John's Hospitals: St Clare's Mercy Hospital, The S.A. Grace General Hospital, Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases and the St. John's Sanatorium. The Public Health laboratory processed specimens mainly from hospitals and medical practitioners from outside St. John's, as well as from the above-mentioned hospitals and to a small extent, for private practitioners in St. John's
EARLY DAYS OF THE ASSOCIATION
"On April 10 1951 a meeting was held at the Government Laboratory of people who worked in the Laboratories in St. John's and who were interested in forming an association to promote interest in subjects dealing with the various branches of laboratory work."-excerpt from minutes of that meeting. The following officers for the newly formed "Newfoundland Society of Medical Laboratory Personnel" (NSMLP) were elected:
Mr. W.A. Rowe -President
Mr. E. Cochrane -Vice President
Miss P Sharpe -Secretary-Treasurer
The NSMLP met regularly until May 20, 1954. Also in the early 1950's the Canadian Association of Laboratory Technologists (C.S.L.T.) became interested in exploring the possibility of more laboratory workers being trained and certified in Newfoundland. In 1952, Miss Ileen Kemp, the Executive Secretary of the C.S.L.T. visited Newfoundland with the hope of holding discussions on the feasibility of more laboratory workers becoming certified. Her visit, unfortunately, was a failure. Miss Kemp was unable to even meet with the Director of Laboratories. She did, however, hold some informal discussions with laboratory workers at the residence of Mr. W. A. Rowe but nothing materialized. There was no further contact with the C.S.L.T. at that time.However, the local group continued to meet from time to time with guest speakers and films etc. Lack of interest caused a discontinuance of these meetings. In the mid-1950's occasional lectures were given by such people as Dr. L.A.W. Feltham, who had returned from post-graduate training at the University of Toronto; these lectures were mainly in the area of clinical chemistry.
Also in the early 1950's, there was not only a need for more technical personnel in the larger hospitals but also laboratory/x-ray technical services were required in the smaller Cottage Hospitals throughout the Province. Consequently, from time to time, the Department of Health would hire some untrained person in the local area and send him or her to St. John's to get some on-the-bench training for a short period of time.
In 1953, Mr. Eric Hutchings was appointed by Dr. Josephson to take on the responsibility of visiting the Cottage Hospitals to attempt to set up some very small laboratory service. Up to that time, Mr. Hutchings' training had been mainly in bacteriology and clinical chemistry. This required to get -on the bench,- no formal training, in other areas of Laboratory Technology, mainly Hematology and Blood Banking. This was the beginning of a new ongoing program to train staff for Cottage Hospitals- a course of 8 months' duration: 4 months' laboratory training and 4 months x-ray training. Mr. Hutchings was responsible for coordinating the teaching and training the Laboratory portions of the program. In 1958, Mr. Hutchings obtained his C.S.L.T certification (R.T.). Other w ho obtained their R.T were Miss P. Sharpe 1959, and In 1960 Mr. J. Sidel.
By 1960, there was a renewed interest in local Laboratory workers becoming members in the C.S.L.T. and on November 24, 1960 there was a meeting of the laboratory workers to discuss new correspondence they had from Miss I. Kemp Executive Secretary of the C.S.L.T. Those in attendance were Mr. E. L Hutchings, R.T., General Hospital, Chair; Sr. M. Aiden, R.T., St. Clare's Mercy Hospital; Mr. E. Cochrane R.T. General Hospital; Mr. P. Fardy BSc.Dip. Bact., General Hospital; Mr K. Hogan, General Hospital; Mr A. Jamieson, Sanatorium; Mr E Parsons, BSc., Grace Hospital; Miss P. Sharpe, R.T., General Hospital; Mr. J Sidel , R.T., General Hospital; Mr M Thornhill, Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases; and Miss V. Walsh, BSc. General Hospital. There was also at the time a Registered member working in the Laboratory at the Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook. Minutes of the meeting show the meeting was to address the following issues:
1) The feasibility of non-certified laboratory workers becoming associate members of the C.S.L.T.
2) If these laboratory workers could become associate members of the C.S.L.T., what means were available for them to become certified as R.T.'s.
3) The procedure to be followed to form the Newfoundland Branch of the C.S.L.T.
There were only 5 eligible R.T.s in the province at the time, but there was hope to get a tentative approval for a local branch until the number of R.T.s could be increased to 10 the number required for to legally form a branch of the C.S.L.T. Further correspondence was carried out and on February 26, 1961, in a meeting with Miss Kemp the following arrangements were made:
1) Another meeting with the original group who met on November 24, 1960.
2) A meeting with the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. P.Hanley
3) A general meeting with all Laboratory Workers interested in forming a local branch of the C.S.L.T.
4) A meeting with the then Director of Laboratories, St. John's General Hospital Dr. J.E. Josephson.
On March 27, 1961, tentative approval was given for a local branch of the C.S.L.T. and on April 11, 1961, a meeting was called to elect the Provincial Director and Executive for the "Tentative" Newfoundland Branch of the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists. Mr. P. Fardy, BSc. Dip. Back. conducted the elections which resulted as follows:
Miss P. Sharpe R.T.--- President
Sr. M. Aiden R.T -----Secretary-Treasurer
Mr. E Hutchings, R.T. --Provincial Director
Mr. E Cochrane, R.T.---- Member
Mr. J. Sidel R.T. ----Member
On May 5, 1961, a meeting was held of the former members of the Newfoundland Society of Medical Laboratory Personnel. The purpose of this meeting was to wind up the affairs of the Society. Ten people were in attendance and the following motion was moved by Mr. E Cochrane, R.T. and seconded by Mr. Kevin Hogan. "That the funds to the Society's credit in the Newfoundland savings Bank be withdrawn and turned over to the Newfoundland Branch of the Canadian Society of Laboratory technologists". The motion was carried unanimously.
In the St. John's area in April 1961 there were 55 technicians, 40 of which were members of the new society. The status of the membership were as follows: 5 Registered Technologists, 20 Associate Members, and 15 Unaffiliated members. During the Year however through the Policy of Recertification, two members were Recertified at the Licentiate level, eight Associate Members were granted Registration, eight Associate Members were to write examinations and several additional technicians became Associate Members. Those who were recertified had already had their BSc. and those who were permitted to write had many years of experience but without academic qualifications. All others would have to study before being permitted to write their examinations.
At this time, it should be noted that the C.S.L.T. had set up a certification board to review the training and experience of all interested laboratory workers in Canada in becoming certified with the C.S.L.T.. Indeed a fortunate break for the newly formed Newfoundland Branch. Many local laboratory workers submitted a summary of their qualifications and experience to this board. Some were granted certification without examination: others were permitted to sit for R.T. examinations, and others were recommended to have further training, both didactic and practical before being eligible to sit for R.T. examinations. The number of R.T.S in the Newfoundland Branch had now exceeded the number of 10 required for a local branch and in June 1963 at an Executive meeting of the C.S.L.T. in Halifax, N.S. a motion was passed granting full approval of the Newfoundland Branch of the C.S.L.T.
In 1961 as a result of discussions between the Executive of the Newfoundland branch of the CSLT and the Director of Laboratories the following policy evolved:
1. A "selling" program through career counseling and circulation of literature and films.
2. Encouragement of High School students to complete one year of Memorial University with R.T. Training in view.
3. Bursaries would then be available to eligible students( screened at the university level).
FORMAL TRAINING PROGRAMS
There was by now a glaring need for properly trained Registered Technologists to meet the growing demand and from 1961 until 1965 there was a formal training program set up at the Department of Laboratories at The general Hospital on Forest Road in St. John's This program was a 3 year program with approximately 50% of the training in formal lectures given by experienced technologists with either R.T or BSc designation, Laboratory professionals -Biochemists, Microbiologists with PhD or MSc designation, Pathologists and visiting Medical Specialists. The first graduates of this program were in 1963. They were Miss Sandra Pittman and Miss Helen Peters. 1964 saw five more graduates, Miss Elizabeth Cull, Miss Doris Sparkes, Miss Clarice Moore, Miss Maureen Fagan and Mr. Max Thornhill. With the exception of Mr. Thornhill who was a full-time laboratory technician at the Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases, all the others had completed one or more years of study in the faculty of science at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. The graduates in 1965 were Miss Anne Holmes, Miss Elizabeth Rogers, Mr. John Teevan and Mr, Vernon Whelan. The graduates of 1966 were the last of this program. Those graduates were Miss Carmel Lannon, Miss Sadie Griffiths, Miss Karen Spracklin, Miss Elizabeth McEvoy, Mr. Ralph Richards and Mr. Chess Drodge. This was the last of this training program at the General Hospital. By now a new formal training program had been established at the College of Trades and Technology.
As a result of discussions with the Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Education a new program was started at the College of Trades and technology in Sept 1964, this program would prepare the students upon graduation from the College to sit for C.S.L.T examinations and registration in the society. The student upon passing the C.S.L.T. examinations was awarded his/her registration and fully qualified to work in any Laboratory in Canada. This program was set up by such people as Dr. J.E. Josephson, Director of Laboratories at the General Hospital, Dr. L.A.W. Feltham, Biochemist at the General Hospital, later the Department Head of Biochemistry at Memorial University, Dr R.W. Butler Chief Microbiologist at the General Hospital later Director of Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Laboratories, Dr E. Pike Assistant Director of Laboratories at the General Hospital ,later Chief Forensic Pathologist for Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. J Williams, Director of Laboratories, St. Clare's Mercy Hospital and Mr K.F. Duggan, P.Eng. President of the College of Trades and Technology to solve the problem of lack of trainees for Medical Laboratory Technology.
On August 23, 1965, Mr. E.L. Hutchings was appointed to the staff of the College of Trades and Technology. One week later Mr. B.L. Griffiths was hired.In September 1964, there were 10 students enrolled in the first year of Medical Laboratory Technology at the College. In 1967, the first class graduated eight students and all eight who graduated from the College were successful in passing their National Examinations with the Canadian Society of Medical Technologists and certified as Registered Technologists (R.T.). 1965 there were 31 students enrolled in the first year of Medical Laboratory Science at the College. The didactic portion of that course included Haematology, Immunology, Microbiology, Histology, and Clinical Biochemistry. Thus began a very successful program which still (2015) is graduating students in Medical Laboratory. Students from this program are working in every province in Canada. In the 1990's when many other training programs across Canada were discontinued this program continued to train students and has produced some of the top students in Canada.
During the third year of training, the students of the College were given practical training in Laboratory Techniques and Procedures at various provincial hospitals. During their third year rotation at the hospitals, they were instructed by the hospital laboratory staff.
The first annual convention of the Newfoundland Branch of the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists was held at the General Hospital on November 18 - 22, 1963. It was my first year in training and I had the honor of attending. Since the body of knowledge and complexity of testing was increasing tremendously, these conventions were a means of updating the education and training of the technicians and technologist working in the various hospital laboratories throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Before I discuss the next phase in the development of Medical Laboratory Technology in Newfoundland I am going to reflect on the more broad international development of Medical Laboratory Technology. With the causes of diseases such as Tuberculosis etc. being discovered and the development of tests for the detection of these diseases, laboratories began to occupy positions of greater proportions in medical practice. In the 1920's pathologists began the training of technicians to perform this testing. By 1926, The American Society of Clinical Of Pathology was formed to support the specialty of Pathology and by 1926 The American College Of Surgeons accreditation standards decreed that all hospitals have a clinical laboratory under the direction of a physician, preferably a Pathologist. In 1928, certification was brought in the United States of America and individuals who graduated in the Laboratory Technology Program were called Medical Technologists. By 1933, the number of technologists had increased and they formed the American Society for Medical Technology. The first Clinical Laboratory in the United States was established in a 12 x12 foot room at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Clearly from this very brief review, the development of Medical Laboratory Technology in Newfoundland was in line with the rest of North America.
BEGINNING OF AUTOMATION
Just as the 1950's saw tremendous strides in education and the formation of the Newfoundland Branch of the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists to promote and ensure quality assurance the 1960's witnessed a major change in the way laboratory techniques were being performed with a major shift from manual to automated procedures. This was the beginning of major changes in the way Laboratory testing was performed everywhere and Newfoundland was not behind. It changed in my opinion, the way medicine would be practiced ever more. Before this, procedures were manually performed. These manual procedures were slow, cumbersome, complicated and time-consuming. The time to perform tests and get the results to the physician and the number of tests offered and performed would by today's standard, be considered unsatisfactory.
Up to early 1960's the instruments used would be considered simple and primitive by today's standards. The types of equipment and instruments that were used was, Microscopes, Balances both analytical and swing types, Water baths, Incubators, Ovens, Centrifuges, Spectrophotometers, Colorimetric Photometers, pH Meters, Flame Photometers, Pipettes, Burettes. Many procedures were considered manual and were done by visual comparisons and subject to individual interpretations, others by extracting and titrating or weighing, heating with chemical reagents to form colors, the intensity of theses colors were analyzed using glass cuvettes and colorimeters, samples would be burned in a flame and the color of the flame analyzed using flame photometers equipped with specific glass filters.All Reagents and Standards would be manually prepared. All glassware was required to be scrupulously clean which was very labor oriented and time-consuming.
In the field of medical laboratory technology, the variety of instruments in use is so huge that if would be an enormous task just to list them, let alone understand them. However, I believe in order to understand the development of Medical Laboratory Technology from 1960 one should have a basic knowledge of the workings of some of the Basic instrumentation in use in laboratories up to then. To look backward to really appreciate the change that began in 1957 when Leonard T Skaggs developed the first Auto Analyzer for Technicon Corporation.
Before 1930, there were only a very few very basic tests performed. Mostly these tests would have been an examination of a few drops of urine under a microscope, or looking at a swab from a wound or a sore throat. These tests would only require a Monocular Microscope, a Bunsen Burner, and glassware. By 1930 Sterilizers, Centrifuges and very basic Colorimeters were in use. These colorimeters were not the photoelectric type but rather types like the DuBoscq which visually compared the color of test solutions to the colors of solutions of known concentrations. These types of visual comparisons were dependent on the subjective judgment of an analyst. Later monochromatic light, the light of a specific wavelength which is required when measuring the intensity of the colored solutions was selected using colored glass filters and even later Spectrophotometers came into use. Spectrophotometers allowed you to select the monochromatic light of any wavelength from ultraviolet to infrared by turning a knob which tipped a prism and allowed light of a specific wavelength to be selected, rather than changing the glass filters. Flame Photometers were now appearing, these Flame Photometers measured the intensity color in a flame, which was dependent on the amount of an analyte such as sodium or potassium that was in the solution being burned. These colors were analyzed using specific interchangeable glass filters. Most of these procedures were subject to interpretations at the technical level, but the new Instruments being developed in the 1960's removed that individual interoperation.
Although gradually the subjectivity was being removed the actual testing, preparation for testing and calculation of results were still very cumbersome, time-consuming and complex.
A few examples of how time-consuming procedures were, for example, we would have to weigh out using analytical balances chemicals to the 4th decimal place such as 4.4567 gms in 1000mls of water. All glassware would have to be washed in soapy water then rinsed in tap water seven times followed by rinsing with distilled or deionised water seven more times. There would be multi-timers with 60 colored pegs used in the actual testing procedures, a peg set at for each minute. These multi-timer clocks were equipped with buzzers and when the timer buzzer would get off for your particular colored peg you would then perform the next step in the procedure.
A typical day at the laboratory would start at 7 am with the technical staff going to the wards to collect the blood samples from the patients and return to the lab by 10 am. They would then prepare the samples for testing, do the test, write up the reports on requisitions and do all required paperwork and even tally up the workload units performed for the day. At the end of the day, laboratory staff would deliver the completed requisition to the ward. On a scheduled rotation that usually lasted one week the Technologists at the end of his day usually 4 pm would be on call until 8 am the next morning. It was not uncommon to be called to work several times a night. You were expected to be at work the next morning at 8 am. Call Duty was all part of your job and you were not paid extra. How things have changed.
By now the early 1960's, automation was changing the way Laboratory Technology was being practiced. Instruments were now capable of automatically performing many of the time-consuming procedures that were manually performed before. Many of the standard manual techniques were eliminated. Procedures such as pipetting, mixing, heating, titrating, colorimetric readings, timing, washing and drying of glassware were to a large part eliminated. Many of the laboratories of the day, in addition to providing good reliable instrumentation, were concentrating on simplifying procedures and saving time. These new instruments being developed were doing exactly that and also improving the reliability of results at the same time. All this automation which started in the late 1950's and continues as of the writing of this paper became possible because of developments in electronics and computers.
Earlier I referred to Technicon Corporation and the development of the first Auto Analyzer in 1957 but really only came to the working Laboratory bench in1963 which coincidently was the same year that I commenced my career in laboratory Medicine. This small company in New York introduced for the Pathology Laboratory a tissue processor an instrument that started the revolution and changed forever the way Medical Laboratory Technology would be performed and in my opinion to a large extent the way medicine would be practiced. The first Auto Analyzer was a small instrument that moved surgical specimens through the various steps required in the processing of surgical specimens. Up to now this was a very time-consuming procedure that involved many steps requiring exact timing and working with toxic chemicals. The Auto-Analyzer did the procedure by simply mounting a metal disc on a clock movement so that it completed one rotation in 12 hours. Notches were cut along the edge of a disc and these notches as they rotated activated a series of micro switches at specific times, turning small motors on and off. These motors by a chain of gears and levers caused the raising, lowering, turning and agitating motions required in performing the procedure. All without human involvement and performed in exactly the same way.
From this very simple Automatic Instrument automation has progressed. Although this was the first automated instrument, one of the first automated instruments to have major implications was developed by the same company for use in the Biochemistry Laboratory. It was also called the Auto Analyzer and consisted of several individual components joined together. Each individual component was performing it own specialized task.
The first component was a sampler that would insert a plastic sample tube into a different sample every minute, hold it there for a predetermined time while the sample was being aspirated. The tube would then remove itself from the sample, aspirate air to wash itself of the previous sample and then dip into the next sample. The samples were held in small cups that would rotate using the cams described previously in the tissue processor. This eliminated many manual procedures associated with pipetting samples. It also was a big improvement in safety since samples were no longer required mouth pipetting, the technique that was commonly used at the time.
The next component was a peristaltic pump that pumped a continuous stream of reagents, air, samples and diluents along plastic tubes. The next component was a dialyzer a unit that allowed the required analytes to properly mix the reagents in a heating bath, controlled at the required temperature. In this unit the sample was passing through a long glass coil the length of which was determined by the time that was needed for the chemical reaction between the analyte and the reagents to occur. The sample then was pumped to the unit containing the colorimeter. The colorimeter was a new type which operated by continuous flow where the concentration of the analyte was determined by reading the intensity of the color developed. No longer was it necessary to wash cuvettes after each sample reading. These color intensities were read by photoelectric cells and the results were fed to the next component which recorded these readings. This is a very, very simplified description of how very complicated technical procedures were first automated and from that evolved the very complex instruments of today.
When I started my career in the laboratory at the General hospital on Forest Road in St. John's both these Technicon Instruments were in use. I say this to show that in Newfoundland we were already up to date in laboratory services. In 1965, I was considering returning to university and completing a career in dentistry but I did enjoy the job I was doing and felt very comfortable and confident in my ability to understand and perform the technical procedure. I decided to talk to both Dr. L.A. W. Felltham the Biochemist and Dr. J.E Josephson the Laboratory Director about my future career if I were to Stay working as a Medical Technologist. Obviously the final decision was mine but their insight into the future with respect to the role laboratories would play in the delivery of medical care and the important role that automation would provide in providing that service were certainly convincing factors in my decision to continue in this field. A decision I am glad I made since it provided me the opportunity to contribute to the delivery of health services to the public and enjoy every minute of my 39-year career.
In January 1968, Jack Sidel and I went to New York city, Tarrytown actually, and received training for a revolutionary analyzer that was the latest available. It was made by Technicon Instruments and again in my opinion changed laboratory medicine forever. This instrument was called the SMA 12/60. SMA was pneumonic for Sequential Multiple Analyzer, and 12/60 meaning it could do 12 different tests on 60 samples per hour or a combined total of 720 tests per hour. If my memory serves me correct the serial number of our instrument was 7. So here again we were as far advanced as any other comparable Laboratory in North America at the time. That instrument was entirely maintained by our own staff and it served us faithfully until 1981 when it was replaced with a Hitachi 705. We did not lose one day's work because of downtime on that instrument. It was only used in the day shift for large volume testing again a variety of simpler instruments were used for stat and urgent testing on the evening and night shifts. We had in storage a broad selection of spare parts that would wear out or break or cause frequent problems and we would do all maintenance on a schedule. .
This trend of fast high volume analyzers was not only happening at the general hospital it was happening in all the other major centers and hospitals in the province. The Grace Hospital had the model before the SMA 12/60, it was called the SMA 6/60. These changes were occurring rapidly and mainly in the areas that were doing high volume blood tests such as Biochemistry and Haematology.
The introduction of these high volume analyzers meant that due to the large volume of reagents being used it was not cost effective for laboratories to make their own reagents anymore and this resulted in purchasing these reagents from commercial suppliers. It also meant the end of a very important duty of laboratory technologists of the day. Although they would still make the occasional reagent, certainly the amount of time they spend analytically weighing chemicals, checking Ph's and normality etc of solutions, washing glassware, dispensing and storing reagents would become a thing of the past. It also provided commercial opportunities for local businesses and resulted in a thriving business for some local medical Supply Companies.
By the 1970's there were many major National and International Laboratory Supply Companies that were coming up with their own automated high volume testing instruments and there was a time period when as opposed to the 1960's when Technicon was the leader there were wide varieties offering different types of reliable analyzers. These were made possible because of the development of computers that could analyze data rapidly. In the 1970's and 1980's there were centrifugal analyzers that used different technology, there were specific ion analyzers and some instruments were using a technique developed by Kodak using dry chemicals. The list just goes on and a book could be written on laboratory instrumentation alone. The speed of testing and the number of analytes that could be tested just keeps growing. The technology just keeps improving. You can now probably have hundreds of different analytes performed on a very small sample of the specimen in a very short time span, of just a few minutes.
Then of course there was the development of tests that can be done at the bedside or at home, such as the Glucometer testing your blood sugar introduced which had major implications for diabetic patients. Certainly they could now monitor their own blood glucose without trips to the laboratory.
In the late 1960's or early 1970's with the introduction of Intensive Care Units and the rapid improvement in availability of Lab Results, communication of results became a major issue, physicians were demanding results in minutes rather than hours, especially Electrolytes, Glucose, Blood Gasses and Toxicology. At one period for a few years there was a telescriber , a sort of a fax machine that was connected between the ICU and the Laboratory at the General Hospital. Technologists would write the result on an electronic surface and instantly as we were writing the results it would be writing the exact duplication in the ICU. This provided at the bedside, laboratory results at the exact time they were completed in the Laboratory. At about the same time, faxes were just beginning and Laboratory results from our reference labs on the mainland would be received instantly, again cutting turnaround times by eliminating the time required for mail delivery.
In the early days when Technicon was the major player for Auto Analyzers, all results were manually taken off by plotting a graph and reading the height of a peak measuring the concentration of an analyte against the height of a peak of a standard solution. Graphs were plotted on a sheet of plastic by joining dots at the peak readings of a series of standards and then moving the sheet of plastic over the sample peaks. Later all instruments were producing digital results both on displays and printers. All these other time consuming cumbersome techniques were gone overnight.
There were also much greater volumes of results being produced by those new multichannel instruments making manual entry of results on requisitions very time consuming and subject to transcription errors. Ticker Tape data processors that would electronically convert the electronic signal from Laboratory instruments into a typed result on the reporting requisition. This was also a huge time saver and eliminated another source for transcription or typographical errors.
I would now like to quote from a lecture given by Dr. J.E Josephson at the NL Branch of CSLT annual convention 1969. "the question now arises --is centralization feasible. Hospital administrators in both Canada and the United States realize that the tremendous cost of these facilities, both in equipment and personnel, make it impractical to develop a large and costly automated laboratory in every hospital. Having had some considerable experience with automation in my own laboratory, it now seems incongruous to me that large urban hospitals , only a few city blocks from each other, should each have for example a very expensive automated instrument which can do twelve tests on each of sixty samples of blood from sixty patients per hour, and which is only optimally operated for perhaps a maximum of two or three hours each day. Wouldn't it be more economical for one hospital to have such an instrument running say ten or more hours per day and doing the tests for all the hospitals in the community? But, hospitals must still have laboratories which will continue to do intramuraly on a daily basis the emergency procedures that require day to day reports. However, those more difficult and exotic tests and all the routine tests for which the result is not required the same day may be done in a centralized laboratory." Was Dr. Josephson away ahead of his time.? This is exactly what happened in mid-1990 after the formation of the Health Care Corporation of St. John's.
When I earlier said these automated machines changed the way medicine would be practiced forever this is what I was referencing. Now when a patient gets a blood test they get a whole battery of tests in a timely fashion. Often this testing finds non-symptomatic diseases. Also, many patients would have baseline results allowing the Physician to pick up changes before symptoms occur. This testing is not only for checking for the disease but plays a major role in therapeutic treatment.
The 1960's was not only a time when great changes were occurring in the way procedures were being performed but also changes were occurring in Labor Relations. Up to now basically when you were hired, out of hours work, either when on call during evenings and nights or on weekend hours this extra work was considered part of the job and you had to do it with no financial remuneration. Employees were no longer content to do this extra work and they began to organize and present briefs to the government in support of pay raises and financial remuneration for hours worked after eight in a single day. There were no unionized employees so they began to organize the society in order to standardize across the province. These types of activities were not the purpose of the society. Its aims and goals were to promote professional, scientific , educational activities. However indirectly it provided a means for the first labor dispute in the laboratory. In about 1969 a group of technologists made a presentation to the government about working conditions mainly in relation to call, standby and overtime. When no progress was being made the leaders of the group organized an illegitimate walkout or work stoppage. It was not a strike because we had no union etc.. The chair of the group was Max Thornhill. When the time was decided for the walkout, it would happen at all sites in St. John's at the same time. All required notifications were given to management. I remember it well since I was the one at the general hospital who called the technical staff to the meeting and told them that we were to leave the laboratory at 10 am and all work was to be left to the managers. I remember our group trying to meet with the then minister of Health the Hon Ed Roberts, but he refused to meet with us because he didn't consider us by now as employees since we had withdrawn our services. All our negotiations had to be through the Hospital boards association, which I believe was called the Newfoundland Hospital Association., they became responsible for all correspondence between our group and government.
On Monday, October 2, 1973, ballads were sent in the mail to all the Laboratory and X-ray technicians for a strike vote. This would be the start of the first official strike. The group which consisted of all the Non-Management Laboratory and X-Ray assistants, aides, technicians and technologists employed in all the hospitals or health care units in the province was now a separate bargaining unit called Laboratory X-Ray (LX) represented by the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (NAPE). This dispute was over displeasure with a wage contract they had signed only a few days earlier. They maintain that throughout the bargaining process they were led to believe their salary would be kept on par with the nurses as in past practices. This was not the case, the nurses had been offered a better contract than the one LX had just accepted. The LX unit had accepted 9% for the current year retroactive to April 1 and 13% for year two plus a $200 signing bonus and improved callback and standby provisions. At the time, the existing salary range was $6000-$8040.
On Wednesday, October 17, 1973, 325 LX bargaining unit employees across the province withdrew their services but offered emergency service for procedures that management could not do. There were calls for disciplinary action against the strikers by the government and the group representing the hospital administrators, the Newfoundland Hospital Association. October 22 saw a mass rally of support in Grand falls and talks of a mass resignation by the members of LX. Throughout the process, there were a few of the smaller hospitals where staff remained on the job. Wednesday evening October 24 after 10 days of striking the LX group resigned in mass. This was probably the first for this kind of an event in health care in Newfoundland and the politicians of the day were now making statements and the labor leaders were also voicing their concerns. The politicians involved at the time were Mr. John Crosbie, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, who was quoted as saying if in fact they do resign it will be the most inhumane and callous act by any group of Newfoundlanders ever. The Premier was Mr. Frank Moores, Minister of Health, Mr. A.T. Rowe.The leader of the opposition was Mr. Ed Roberts. The Union leader was Mr. John Peddle and the chief negotiator was Mr. Fred Locking. C.U.P.E also got involved when the government threatened to bring in a bill with section 27 which would give the cabinet the right to proclaim a state of emergency and order any group of public employees back to work if cabinet is of the opinion that a strike of employees is or would be injurious to the health or safety of any group or class of persons or the security of the province. A very contentious part of the bill was section 10 which would empower the government to determine which public employees do and do not have the right to strike. The government did place ads in the paper calling for applications for the vacated positions.
Headlines in the local paper The Telegram for Friday, October 26 were," extra police called to the house of assembly yesterday as X-ray and Laboratory Technicians move to take seats in the public gallery, 120 in the gallery and another 100 waiting in the corridors". Thursday, October 25 Mr. John Crosbie introduced the bill in the house and also the striking employees agreed to provide voluntary, unpaid services in the event of a major emergency, providing the hospitals will permit the use of their services.
On Friday October 26 the government showed the first sign of weakening when they announced they will introduce an amendment to bill 27. Tory backbencher and prominent city lawyer Mr. Robert Wells said in the house " if you are going to say you have the right to strike, you don't say you can have it as long as cabinet wants you to". On Tuesday October 30 the LX unit rejected in the St. John's region an offer to arbitration by a vote of 111 to 21. Thursday November 1 after two weeks on strike they went back to work after the dispute went to binding arbitration with Senator H Carl Goldenberg a nationally know labor arbitrator was appointed. The LX unit also agreed to return at the negotiated salary and a work week of 35 hours with overtime after thirty-seven and a half hours of work.
On May 26 1978 saw the beginning of a series of rotating strikes all across the province ,initially it started by a withdrawal of standby, call and overtime but that eventually led to a full-scale strike on Monday, June 19. It involved 46 sites, 20 of which were major employers. They striking members marched in force to the gallery of the confederation building. The Minster of Health at the time was Hon. Harold Collins. The employees were now represented by Nape and Jim Ryan was the nape negotiator.
Twelve midnight on Wednesday September 30, 1981 once again saw 579 members of the LX unit on the picket line again, however they withdrew the picket lines and NAPE Chief Negotiator Jim Ryan said the picket lines were causing too much disruption. This time the issue was that the government of the day led by Mr A. Brian Peckford, and Treasury Board president Mr John Collins refused to accept a conciliation board report offering 23 % salary increase over 24 months. Nape President said the government was only offering 19.5% . On October there was a new offer on the table offering 54% over 30 months. This would put step 1 of the salary range up to $20752 per annum. However the negotiating team rejected the offer. On Wednesday October 21 Dr John Bessell President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association announced that the strike may have attributed to the death of one person. on October 30 the LX unit withdrew emergency services at the Health Sciences center the major tertiary care hospital in the province accusing the employer of taking advantage of the emergency workers but reinstalled them the next day. The 40 day old strike came to an end on Sunday November 8 when workers returned to work without a contract as a result of legislation enacted by the government on Friday, November 6. Back to work legislation aimed specifically at employees of the Health Sciences Center. Under the new law, essential employees who did not return to work could face fines up to $200 a day, jail terms, and firing. The union could be fined $1000 a day and any union official counseling non-compliance $1000 a day. The legislation stipulated that the union and the employees must within 12 hours designate up to 50% of the striking workers as essential and have them report to work.
Premier Brian Peckford called a news conference at 2 pm on Saturday, November 7 and suggested that the provisions for essential services were separate from the labor dispute. The Essential Services Act enables the cabinet to designate hospitals which are unable to provide essential services, on the basis of medical advice they receive and that no hospital in the province was now in a position to provide essential service so they designated all hospitals in the province. The union was notified and when they couldn't designate in 12 hours the government did and the various hospitals were in the process of notifying those employees and they must report immediately. Any employee who failed to report to work was subject to termination and the union and employees subject to fines. The government designated 176 out of 579 employees. some of those designated were 38 at the Health Sciences Center, 18 at The Grace General, 17 at St Clare's, 17 at the Janeway Child Health Center, 10 at the Western Memorial in Corner Brook, and 2 at the Waterford Hospital.
September 20, 2000, saw the beginning of lunch hour protests by Laboratory staff over the fact that that Nape's LX bargaining union were excluded from the recent reclassification of health care professionals. This resulted in a full-scale strike on October 18 and lasted until 6 pm on Wednesday, October 25 when both parties agreed on the appointment of local Lawyer John Roil being appointed as mediator. The local paper the Telegram reported on Friday, October 20 LX Technologists still defying court injunction ordering them back to work. On Wednesday, October 18 workers walked off the job leaving 16 managers. Injunctions were served in the middle of the night. Some strikers left the picket line and congregated at the Avalon mall so they could not be issued injunctions at their home. This injunction was different in that it requested employees to bring contempt of court charges against all those that defy. On Friday, October 20 the NLMA issued a dire warning saying they can no longer provide safe care. At 6 pm on Saturday according to a report by Tom Hanlon of Nape, 4 court injunctions were amended to say "when physicians deemed a situation an emergency an employee can come to work and provide services". Workers were now making themselves available on a case by case basis. On October 22 government were prepared to meet but Nape would not meet. On Monday, October 22 the NLMA announced they want the strike settled 200 major surgeries were canceled in two days. Tuesday, October 23 saw Nape lawyer and Newfoundland Hospital Boards association lawyer Augustus Lilly in court arguing over charging 100 strikers with contempt of court. The first 10 charged would appear in court Friday, October 26, then the others staggered at 10 per day appearing in alphabetical order. the sheriff's office was given the authority to arrest. The strike ended at 6 pm on Wednesday, October 25 when all agreed on the mediator. Workers reported for work at 12 midnight.
Although his report would be non-binding on either party many considered it as the government giving in since it was considered an illegal strike. Employees began reporting back to work on the midnight shift. Key players in this strike were Nape negotiator Tom Hanlon, Premier Beaton Tulk, health minister Roger Grimes and president of treasury board Anna Thistle. During this strike, 700 employees were on strike, 440 of which were in St. John's.
Most of the reference about these labor disputes were taken from the archives of the Evening Telegram, the local Newspaper of the day. However I myself was directly involved in every Labor Dispute from the 1960's up to 2001.
When I started my career in 1963 the various divisions of the laboratory were Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology including Blood Banking and Morphology, Anatomical and Surgical Pathology including Histology and Cytology. Microbiology including Parasitology and Serology. By the early 2000's there were many other new specialities such as Immunology, Virology, Nephrology, Hormone Assay Laboratory, Electron Microscopy, HLA, Toxicology, Genetics, Gas and Liquid Chromatography, Amino Acid analyses, Mass Spectrometry, Atomic Absorption instruments, Immunoelectrophoresis, Specialized Coagulation testing, Immunohistochemistry, Special testing for Tumor Markers, Genetic etc . all being performed on a regular basis. The list just keeps growing. Never again will be possible to offer modern medical service without an up to date laboratory or access to such a laboratory. The role of the Medical Laboratory Technologist is now in my opinion one of the more important essential positions in modern medical care
Computerization of information.
The next major development in laboratory medicine in St. John's came with Computerization in early 1980's Although there had been several different types of rapidly reporting and storing of Laboratory Results it was of no major consequence until the Laboratories became fully computerized with respect to the collection, storage, retrieval and dispensing of information.
In the late 1970's the Government approved St. Clare's Mercy hospital as a test site for the implementation of the latest technology in relation to collecting, recording, transferring, reporting and storing data in the laboratory. Consultants were hired and after considerable research and testing a company specializing in hospital information called Meditech was selected. We were one of the forerunners in Canada and the United States in installing what was referred to as Hospital Information Systems. Everything in a matter of time would be on the computer and thus ordering, reporting and retrieval of reports would be instantaneously available, forever, and eventually all city and provincial sites would be connected, as well as individual Doctors offices. Tremendous improvement for patient care. Could you imagine at the time the thoughts of no more no more paper, pencils, filing, manual transferring of results or storage of paper results? Patients being seen at one institution would have all the results they ever had done available to the physician anywhere at any time. All current and previous patient results were to be now available and in a standard format, instantly, regardless of which site it was performed. This provided for huge improvements, efficiencies and savings to the Healthcare system and provided great improvements patient care including the elimination of duplicate testing.
A Commission of Inquiry on Hormone receptor testing was established by order in council 2008-300 on 3 July 2007 which had more major implications for the future of Medical Laboratory technology in NL. The report is in two volumes and available to the public. It was called the Cameron Commission and Inquiry.
One of the things that came out of that was that all Medical Laboratory Technologists practicing in NL be licensed. That resulted in the establishment of the NL council of Health Professionals (NLCHP) an independent body established by legislation under the Health Professional Act 2010. It is responsible for governing the regulation of seven health Groups. Acupuncturists, Audiologists, Dental Hygienists', Medical Laboratory Technologists, Respiratory Therapists, Midwives, and Speech Language Pathologists. This body consists of two representatives from each group and six public representatives. its mandate is to - support quality and safety and health services, - enhance public protection,-improve patient safety and strengthen the regulatory system as well as facilitate patient-centered interprofessional collaborative care. Its first registrar was appointed June 15, 2012 and was Mrs. Louise Jones, a previous Senor health care executive and vice president of the largest Health Care facility in the province Eastern Health.Licensing of medical Laboratory technologists began in NL in2012.
Sometime before 2012 the Newfound and Labrador Medical Laboratory Society was renamed The Newfoundland and Labrador College of Medical Laboratory Science.
Past Laboratory Managers.
Although I am unable to find the names of some Laboratory managers here are a list of those I can recall and an apology to anyone I missed for various NL Hospitals 1960-1990's
Corner Brook: Brian Berry, Max Saint, Graham Anthony, Judy Gash, David Ball??, Frank Holloway???,
Grand Falls: Lavina Jackman, George Thom, Bryson Webb, Joe Massaquoi, Gerry Adams
Gander: Doug Hall, Anne Holmes, Ken James, Mae Kit
Clarenville, Jim Humby, Rowena Bryant
Burin: Jim Humby
Carbonear: Klatz Quan: Graham Anthony. Cliff Fitzgerald. Randy Butt
Waterford: Max Thornhill, Kevin Kelly
Sanatorium: Andy Jamieson
Grace: Capt. Belanger, Alex Sobanski, John Butler, David Morrissey
St. Clare's: Sister Aiden, Brian Macdonald.
Janeway: Miur Gardiner, Peter Lovejoy, Aiden Howell
General Hospital/ Health Sciences: Max Thornhill, Vern Whelan, Terry Gulliver, Lynn Wade.
Public Health Laboratory; Carol Drodge,
Canadian Blood Services, Mike Newton, John Collins, Colin Power.
St. Anthony: Meryl Brett
Although there have been millions of test results reported without error there were two major court cases because of Laboratory test result errors. Both are well documented in the public media and available in court records. Just too much for this brief history of mine. The first would have been 1978-79 when a patient received mismatched blood and the other which resulted in a Commission of Inquiry by Madame Cameron 2007 and a class action suit by breast cancer patients over Estrogen and Progesterone Receptor reporting.
Laboratory Medicine Summary 1937-1987 from CSLT at national Level
There is a very good summary of the development of Laboratory medicine 1937-1987 in the Can Jour. Med. Tech from the CSLT. I will discuss a few items for comparison to development in Newfoundland.
In May 1937 after several years of organizing saw the incorporation of the Canadian Society of medical Technologists with 65 society members from across Canada. Frank Elliott the senior Biochemist at the Hamilton general hospital was its first president. It is interesting to note that the first name for the society was to be the Canadian Society of Medical Technologists but was changed to The Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists over protests by the Canadian Medical Association because the use of the term Medical Technologists implied that the members were Medical Doctors. the fees for members were $3.00 per year and the society goals were:
-to improve the qualifications and standing of Medical Technicians in Canada.
-to promote a recognized professional status for Technicians across Canada.
-to promote research endeavors in all branches of Lab. Work.
-to encourage by examination in practical and theoretical knowledge, fully qualified Technicians and to grant them a Certificate as an associate of the society.
-to promote closer co-operation between the Medical Profession and the Technicians and to more efficiently aid the dDoctor in diagnosing and treating disease.
The first meeting of the Society was held in Hamilton in December 1937. There were 27 registrations. By 1938, the CSLT had published its first edition of the Can. Jour. of Med. Technology.
The duties of technologists in the 1930-40's were not only to perform Laboratory Tests, but they were responsible for the range of preparation and clean up. This not only meant preparing reagents from scratch but often extended into keeping rabbits, guinea pigs, preparing and cooking broths and media, sharpening needles and washing glassware. Media was prepared from basic raw materials of fresh ox hearts, seaweed agar, eggs, gelatin and sheep and cows blood. Most technicians made regular trips to slather houses to obtain blood etc.
The Laboratories in the 30's used many basic techniques and instruments. For example in Vol 1 no 1of the CJMT one can find the following reference, " a band of rubber tubing cut from an old inner tube make a satisfactory covering for an anaerobic culture jar"
Laboratory safety regulations as we know today were virtually nonexistent. It was common practice for technical staff to pour concentrated acids without protective devices. This practice continued until probably the 1970's. Mouth pipetting for most liquids continued also until 1970's and the use of Mercury was common practice also probably into the 1980's.
To quote Margaret Rutherford a long time CSLT member who began work as a Laboratory Technician in 1931 in Toronto General Hospital. "there were small Laboratories scattered over several wards where Residents, Interns did urinalysis, blood counts, and hemoglobins etc. An interesting note her salary was $75 per month. Another interesting note from Ms. Rutherford was that after she moved in 1938 to the 450 bed Ottawa Civic Hospital the total Lab staff was one Pathologist, five Technicians, one Secretary and one Morgue Attendant who doubled as a glass washer.
Executives of The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Laboratories 1951-
The Elected Executive of the NSMLP and the NL Branch of the CSLT from 1951 1980
Year President Vice President Secretary Treasurer Director (Nat)
1951 W.A. Rowe, Ed Cochrane, Pat Sharpe
1952 W.A. Rowe, Pat Sharpe, Moya Murphy
1953 Chester Rowe Audrey Lovelace, Sheila Kelly
1954 Paul Fardy Kevin HoganPatricia Sharpe
1961 the Start of the Newfoundland Branch of CSLT.
1961 Patricia Sharpe, Sis. Mary Aiden Eric Hutchings
1962 Ed Cochrane, Kevin Hogan Veronica Walsh Jack Sidel Eric Hutchings
1963 Ron Bearns Doug Hall Jack Sidel Eleanor Evans Eric Hutchings
1964 Sis Aiden Max Thornhill Veronica Hillier Capt. Belanger Eric Hutchings
1965 Max Thornhill Doug Shano Sandra Pittman Brian Macdonald Eric Hutchings
1966 Vern Whelan Sandra Pittman Helen Teevan Elizabeth Rogers Max Thornhill
1967 Jack Sidel Kevin Hogan Sandra Pittman Sadie Griffiths Max Thornhill
1969 Alex Sobanski Sandra Pittman Maureen Taylor Max Thornhill
1972 Don Daw
1973 Don Marshall Jack Sidel( East)Annette Kennedy Bonnie James Max Saint
H. Hollett (Cent)
P Clarke (West)
1974 Gerry Adams Vern Whelan (E) Olga Neilson (Corresp)Annette Kennedy
Allan Hiscock (C) Maureen Taylor (Record)
Dave Ball (W)
1975 Dave Ball Ron Hicks (E) Olga Neillson (C) Howard Hodder Don Marshall (R)
Derrick Cranford (C) Linda Dwyer (R) Bonnie James
Debbie Ryan (W)
1976 Philip Hyam Ches Drodge (E) Janice French (C) Mike Murphy Bonnie James
Derrick Cranford (C) Linda Dyer (R)
1977 Philip Hyam Ches Drodge (E) Carol HeadMike Murphy Bonnie James
Gerry Adams (C) Marg Connors
Debbie Smith (W)
1978 Carol Head Mary Conners (E) Florence Stead (C) John Murphy Bonnie James
Mae Kitt (C) Robin Hillyard (R)
1979 Carol Head Bonnie James (E) Bernard Williams (C) John Murphy John Collins
Mae Kit (C) Sheila Walsh (R)
Sherman Balsam (W)
1980 Less Simms Ken Green (E) Barbara Lalonde (C) John Murphy John Collins
Derrick Cranford (C) Lucy Bearns (R)
Shannon Burke (W)
I will now reference a few notes from the minutes of the NL Branch from the years 1951-1981
The first meeting ever held was on a rainy evening on Tuesday, April 10, 1951 in the Government Lab Building. The intent of the meeting was to form an association. 20 People attended and the meeting was chaired by Don Kelland. The following were named to the constitution committee. Don Kelland (Chair), Miss Patrica Sharpe, Mr. Guy Perry, Mr. Horrace Hall, and Mr. Wm Newton.
On Thursday, April 26 a New Constitution was presented and a motion to call, "The NFLD Medical Laboratory Society" was defeated because as of yet there was no society of Medical Laboratory People it was just people, so a new Motion was presented and passed calling it the" NFLD Society of Medical Laboratory Personnel." At That meeting, Dr. Josephson was the guest speaker and his topic was what makes a Good Laboratory Technician and he gave four criteria
1. Have an interest in his work
2 Understand the fundamentals and techniques with a good work attitude.
4 Have Speed and Accuracy.
1951 was a very active year with regular meetings and guest speakers. They held an outing at Brae Side, the house of Mrs. Campbell in Seal Cove. Guest speakers that year were Dr. Josephson, Dr. Bennett, and Dr. Grabin.
1952 was another active year. Some of the speakers that year and their topics were; Dr. Gallagher, Director of Venereal Disease Control spoke on the importance of CSF in diagnosing and treatment of venereal diseases. Dr. Pottle from the Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases. He spoke about Cardiac and Renal panels and also how non-eaters developed gastric problems and the importance of analyzing Gastric fluids. He also talked about treating Epilepsy with Dilantin and Phenobarbital and Syphilis and CSF. Others speakers were Dr. Josephson on the topic of Immunology and Dr. T A. Knowling on BCG and Dr. Minto about new drugs for treating T.B. They again held their outing at Brae Side.
1953 Speakers and topics: Mr Woodrow Feltham on Amino Acids, Miss Lillian Matchurick from Pepperell Air Force Base hospital, Dr. Doug Simms spoke on the RH factor' Dr. Charles Brennan spoke on Malignant and Non-Malignant Tumors, and Dr. Mcdermott spoke on the Polio Epidemic.
1954 saw an effort to get technicians from outside St. John's to become active in the society and the following doctors were made Honorary membership; Drs Coat from West Coast; Dr. Paton, East Coast; Dr. Ian Rusted, Cottage Hosp Rep; Dr. Grabi, the St John's Rep; Dr. Miller, Dept. of Health and Dr. Brennan the Laboratory Rep.
1960 Start of formation of the NL Branch of CSLT
1961 Formation of the NL Branch of CSLT. Setting up of a training school at The General Hospital. Increased emphasis on recruitment and training. This year the National CSLT purchased an American made film for $202.05 Medical Technologist as a career and was very popular in Canada and also the US.
1962 16 Registered members. 15 Trainees who had Bursaries for 18 month and others were permitted to study for recertification. 1 associate non-active and 8 associate members. This was the year that the first constitution for the NL Branch was approved.
1963 Nov.18-22 First Convention of the NFLD Branch was held in conjunction with training for technicians from all across Newfoundland was held at the general hospital. It was chaired by Ron Bearns and deemed very successful. Also in 1963 Dr. J.E. Josephson and Mr. William Alfred Rowe were made honorary members. This was also the year that the branch prepared a brief for the government. The brief discussed Training, Retention of Technologists, Salaries, Working Conditions and things that would later be in union contracts. At this time members were not yet members of Nape and all bargaining etc would be by the Branch. The first Lab Bulletin for the NL Branch was published. Branch Membership consisted as follows; RT'S active 18, RT's inactive 1, associate members 19, Cottage Hospital students eligible for Associate Membership 27, Technicians in St. John's area eligible for Associate Membership 35 and RT'S in training eligible for Associate Membership 7
1964 2nd Annual Banquet and dance held at Park Lee in Topsail, meetings at The general Hospital. on Nov.28
1965 3rd Annual Convention Nov. 15-19 at The General Hospital. Co-chairs Ron Bearns and Jack Sidel. This is the year lectures were given on changing Blood Transfusion bottles from glass to plastic. On July 1st, a Brief was given to Dr. Josephson
1966 4th Annual Convention held in Hotel Gander Oct 15-16. 100 people attended. Chairs were Eric Hutchings, Veronica Walsh, and Doug Hall. Regional reps were Doug Hall, Gander, Brian Berry, Corner Brook, George Thom, Grand Falls. Some Pathologists presenting were Dr. Dimikalangan, Corner Brook and Dr. George Hornor, Grace Hospital. This year Elizabeth Leslie was the first recipient of a government sponsored $25 award for highest marks.
1967 The Society was now recognized in the community and Vern Whelan appeared on CBC TV with host Doug Brophy discussing the society. Pat Russell (nee Sharpe) was given lifetime honorary membership. Negotiations with the government about stand-bye, call back, 5% increments rather than $100 annually, standardization of salaries, recognition for experience, and training and the profession to be compared to nursing. This was also the year that the vice president was changed to President-elect. Dr. George Hornor was a NonGovernment Pathologist working at the Grace Hospital. Pathologists active in the training of technologists were Dr. John Fisher Grand Falls, Dr. J.E. Josephson General Hospital, Dr. John Williams St. Claire's, Dr. George Hornor Grace Hospital and Dr. Charlie Hutton Janeway. Branch membership was now RT's Active in Province 44 of which 38 were in hospitals, 3 at the Collage of technology, 2 in Nursing education and 1 inactive. There were 8 with equivalent training from outside Canada but not registered with the CSLT. The Convention was held in Grand Falls Oct.21. Chaired by Veronica Hillier, Max Thornhill and George Thom. Vern Whelan president. Adrian Delaat ART was at the Collage of trades and Technology. This was the first time the Branch negotiated for Lab Technicians who before this were under Non-Professional hospital Employees. This was the first year that Overtime was paid.
1968. The 6th annual convention held at Southcott hall. Chair Veronica Hillier, Eric Hutchings and Vern Whelan. Some of the presenters were; Ed Cochrane, Dr. Cruz, Dr. Larissa, Roomy Cayce, Dr. W.D Cohen Biochemist, Tony Cull, Klutz Kwan. Dr. Peter Markenstein spoke on Electron Microscopy. Top students this year were Graham Anthony and Bonnie James. Dec 19 the first brief was given to Minister T A Hickman about working conditions. This was the year there was an issue with some staff being permitted to write subject RT's. Vern Whelan and Jack Sidel goes to New York for training on the SMA12/60. It was the most up to date chemistry analyzer available. It did 12 tests on 60 samples per hour for a total output of 720 tests per hour. The serial number was 7. The tests were Ca., IP, UA, Glu. Bun, T.Bili, TP, Alb, Chol, ALP, LDH, SGOT.
1969 This year a letter was written to CSLT requesting to host the National Convention in 1975. It was also a first for the CSLT in that Alex Sobanski who was president of the NL Branch this year was last year president of the NS branch. Sobanski resigned on may 11 over the lack of recognition from the Government on the submitted brief. Sandra Pittman V.P replaced him, but she had to resign in September for personal health reasons. The winner of the $25 government prize was Linda Reid. The Grace Hospital purchased an SMA7A which did RBC, WBC, HGB, HCT, MCV, MCH, MCHC at the rate of 60 samples per hour.
1972 First reference in minutes to Licensing in minutes.
1973 Creation of the Dr. J.E. Josephson award of $150 for the best paper presented at the convention by an RT. A letter was written to the government re Licensing on May 26. Yearly dues were active RT $3.00, Inactive RT $1.00' Active non-certified $1.00, and Trainees $ 0.50. Lyn Russell reported on negotiations; Workweek to be 35 hr per week, overtime to be 1.5 times hourly rate after 35 hrs per week, Stand by rate of $1.50 per 8 hr shift, call back to be paid at rate of 1 hr minimum with 1.5 hours overtime after 1 hr and 26 pay periods per year. Oct 31 there was an emergency meeting of the executive to discuss mass resignation by technologists. Very little recorded but they agreed to return to work the next day. There were 90 delegates registered for the convention in Corner Brook.
1974 Feb 11 the name of the Lab Bulletin was changed to Tech Talk. Concern was expressed about Nape. There were 116 delegates at the convention in Gander and 17 exhibits. The conference ended with a $1000.00 profit.
1975 The National CSLT held the 1st ever Convention in St. John's. Convention on the Rock was extremely successful with good scientific papers and huge attendance. delegates filled all local hotels and the MUN residences. The Corner Brook Academy held its first meeting on Sept 2 with 18 members. No local convention due to the fact that all local resources were put into organizing the National Convention. Oct 18 a motion was presented to ban smoking at branch meetings but was defeated. Don Marshall resigned as National Director. Dr. J.E. Josephson retired.
1976 Don Marshall passed away and a memorial Award was established in Dec. for the Local graduate with the highest mark. The plaque was by CSLT, but NL Branch would provide $100.00 monetary award to accompany the plaque. The convention was held at Mount Peyton Grand Falls. National Director Bonnie James reported that at the National Convention in Vancouver a motion was approved to recognize the Certified lab Assistants Course offered in Grand Falls NL. There was a motion passed to form a licensing committee.
1977 A letter was sent to Health Minister Harold Collins re: licensing on 2 March. In September, a reply was received which said he didn't think licensing was necessary at this time. Discussions were started for a committee to investigate reclassification Cathy Parnell was to follow up. meetings were held with the government to discuss unqualified personnel working in Cottage Hospitals.
1978 The government is willing to upgrade Technicians but not licensing. and courses are being offered at the Trades School. Dr. Ian Bowner agreed to be a nominee for the National Advisory Committee. There was a position approved for a Technologist to travel around the province for upgrading. A Committee was approved nationally to draw up regulations for licensing.
1980 Convention at Holiday Inn St John's hosted by Public Health Laboratory. Dr. R.J. Williams from Department of Health requested there be a Regional Consultant from NL Branch to the Department of Health.
1981 AGM in Corner Brook. approx. 300 RT's in NL.
In the early 1970's there was a patient at the Janeway that needed Heparinized Plasma and there was none available at the Blood Bank. Two Technologists of the same blood type donated 60 ml of blood each and did the required testing on the sample. The Blood was then transfused to the patient.
Although there were always the required Safety Supplies available there is a story of a Technologist who spilled Hydrochloric Acid on his skin and his fellow workers immediately doused him with buckets of water.
In the early days smoking often occurred in the Laboratory and there is a story of a technologist not aware that another Technologist was working with ether. Needless to say, the outcome was an explosion in the Laboratory.s Linda Reid. The Grace Hospital purchased an SMA7A which did RBC, WBC, HGB, HCT, MCV, MCH, MCHC at the rate of 60 samples per hour.
1980 Convention at Holiday Inn St John's hosted by