Dr. Christiane Farazli's office
Credits: DARREN BROWN
OTTAWA - A tiny operating room and a shocking lack of sterilization led to a provincial regulator pulling the plug on Dr. Christiane Farazli's endoscopy clinic, according to an inspection report.
The report following the May 2011 inspection of the clinic was made public Friday after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario decided to increase transparency of its out-of-hospital inspection program.
Until now, the public only knew it was a problem with equipment not being properly cleaned between procedures that led to an unprecedented, $730,000 patient outreach blitz by Ottawa Public Health.
Turns out there was more: A cluttered procedure room with five combustible oxygen tanks, "questionable" air quality, possible patient exposure to toxic fumes, contaminated garbage under the procedure table and a lack of monitoring of patients' vital signs during procedures.
However, the most troubling of the 24 observations are related to the possibility of dirty devices used during the scope procedures.
Some, like biopsy forceps, weren't sterilized using the right equipment, the report says.
During one procedure, inspectors watched the doctor dip forceps in a formaldehyde solution to get rid of a specimen and reinserted the forceps into the patient's esophagus.
"Formaldehyde is known to be harmful to human health due to carcinogenic properties," the report says before noting "this practice must be stopped immediately before causing more harm to patients."
Another observation says: "Both during and at the end of the procedure, there was gross cross-contamination occurring from the dirty scope."
There was a lack of record-keeping for equipment maintenance and in patients' charts, the report says.
QMI Agency contacted Farazli Friday to ask if she wants to respond to the allegations in the report.
"I have no comment, thank you," Farazli said.
Rebecca Soroka, 35, isn't surprised by what inspectors saw.
She's a former patient of Farazli's and is part of a $20-million class-action lawsuit against the doctor.
The lawsuit hasn't been tested in court.
"It was really stuffy," Soroka said of the clinic. "Imagine a small coat closet. You can barely move."
Soroka said she recently had a colonoscopy by another doctor - which was a "thousand times better" than the one at Farazli's clinic. She said she was vigilant to make sure all the equipment was sterile before the procedure.
"Now I feel like I'm always on edge," Soroka said.
The regulator notes Farazli withdrew from the out-of-hospital program in September 2011.