Breast Cancer Testing

Settled Case
mammography exam


Klein Lawyers, together with co-counsel Ches Crosbie Barristers has filed a class action on behalf of women who had breast cancer testing performed by the lab at the General Hospital in the Health sciences Centre in St. John’s Newfoundland from January 1, 1997 to October 1, 2005. The hospital is operated by Newfoundland’s Eastern Regional Integrated Health Authority. The lab tested breast tumour biopsies from throughout the province.

The testing included what are referred to as ER (estrogen) and PR (progesterone) receptor tests. These tests determine whether the tumour is of the type that grows in response to hormones such as estrogen or progesterone. A positive test result means that the cancer may respond to therapies which block the action of hormones on tumour cells, such as the drug Tamoxifen. A negative test result would indicate other therapies such as chemotherapy.

Due to a lack of quality control at the lab, a substantial number of women received test results that were false positives or false negatives. These false test results meant that hundreds of women received inappropriate therapy for their breast cancer.

On May 28, 2007, Justice Thompson of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador certified the lawsuit as a class proceeding with the following class definition:

  1. Patients, including their estates, who underwent ER (estrogen) and PR (progesterone) receptor tests in which their breast tissue samples were tested at the Defendant’s hospital during the Class Period; and
  2. Persons who have a claim for loss of consortium and loss of guidance, care and companionship on account of a relationship with a person in paragraph (a).

The Class is restricted to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The “Class Period” is defined as: May 1, 1997 to August 8, 2005, or such other dates as may be approved by the court.”

The province of Newfoundland & Labrador has also launched a public inquiry into the matter.

For more information:

Doug Lennox