Canada
12-year wait for allergy test in Montreal

Credits: FOTOLIA

HELOISE ARCHAMBAULT | QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - Quebec's notorious health-care waiting lists have reached a new low for one Montreal family, whose child received a call about an allergy test 12 years after it was requested.

The parents tried to book a penicillin test at Verdun Hospital south of downtown Montreal in 2002, when their daughter, Marianne, was one year old.

The hospital left a voice mail message earlier this month, confirming the appointment. Marianne is now a 13-year-old high school student.

"I fell off my chair when I heard that," said the father, who didn't want to give his name.

The girl had a reaction to an antibiotic when she was an infant.

She was hospitalized at the time but preliminary tests came back negative.

The parents sought the allergy test as a precaution, but the father said it makes no sense to get a callback 12 years later.

"If she had really been allergic, she would have died a long time ago," said the father, who didn't bother returning the voice mail.

Verdun Hospital said it isn't to blame for the 12-year delay. Spokeswoman Monique Guay said the facility has been relying on the Montreal Children's Hospital to test infants.

"We've only had an allergist on staff since 2012," she said.

The Montreal Children's Hospital blamed an equipment shortage, claiming the machine used to test penicillin allergies wasn't available in 2002.

Quebec's association of allergy specialists says the province is short about 40 specialists and has just 60 allergists for the one million Quebecers struggling with allergies.

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