Blood testing continues for patients of P.E.I. foot clinic

At the time of the complaint, Johnson Podiatry was located on Longworth Avenue in Charlottetown. It has since moved to Stratford. (Aaron Adetuyi/CBC - image credit)
At the time of the complaint, Johnson Podiatry was located on Longworth Avenue in Charlottetown. It has since moved to Stratford. (Aaron Adetuyi/CBC - image credit)

More than 75 people have been tested for blood-borne infections and dozens more have appointments booked following what P.E.I. health officials call a break in infection prevention measures at a Charlottetown podiatry clinic.

The Chief Public Health Office recently received a complaint about cleaning and sterilization protocols at Johnson Podiatry. At the time, the clinic was located on Longworth Avenue in Charlottetown. It has since moved to Stratford.

The CPHO said the issues have been corrected and the risk to patients was very low, but its investigation could not rule out people having been exposed to hepatitis C, hepatitis B or HIV.

It recommended clients who had any procedure from Jan. 1, 2022, until April 8, 2024, that caused a break or cut in the skin be tested at a blood clinic.

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, said it will take at least five business days for people to get the results of their blood tests. She said anyone who tests positive will be contacted. People are asked to contact CPHO by email at footcaretesting@ihis.org or call 1-800-958-6400 to get a copy of the lab testing form.

Morrison said staff at the blood lab have been supportive.

"They have certainly done more than they would, but they realize the importance of it," Morrison told Kerry Campbell on CBC News: Compass on Tuesday

Podiatry not a regulated health profession

Morrison said the incident could lead to changes in oversight of podiatry, which is not regulated as a health profession on P.E.I.

"I think this kind of situation will mean that those involved in legislation will also start looking more closely at where do podiatrists fit best in this province, and I think it will actually make it better for everyone over time," she said.

In an interview with CBC on June 25, Dr. John Johnson, a podiatrist and co-owner of the foot clinic, said staff have always adhered to the highest standards of sterilization and hygiene.

"I'm very confident there is going to be no risk to the public and everything we have been doing has been safe for all Islanders," Johnson said.