Our Lab heads up to Weeneebayko General Hospital (it’s near James Bay!)

By: J. Buttivant

Recently Weeneebayko Area Health Authority received a long anticipated letter from QMP-LS that fully restored accreditation to their laboratory at Weeneebayko General Hospital in Moose Factory, Ontario.

LMP staff (including Dr. Ivan Blasutig, left, and Chris Cursio, right, both freezing in –30 degree weather) have been traveling up to Moose Factory, on the tip of James Bay to assist with the challenges facing the laboratory service within Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.

What follows is a first hand account of the experience, written by Chris:

Chris Cursio, Manager Point-of-Care

On February 9th and 10th, Ivan Blasutig and I headed to the great white north on a site visit to Weeneebayko General Hospital.

We traveled from Timmins to Moosonee and then across the ice road to Moose Factory. The ice road crossing was smoother than expected and the view goes on forever!

We met with the laboratory staff in the afternoon and got a chance to understand their workflow—the lab is small but very busy and all lab disciplines are practiced.

The WGH lab staff also receive and process the samples that come in daily from the coastal clinics in Fort Albany, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Peanwanuck.

During this visit, I stayed in shared locum housing and shared accommodations with a former UHN Nurse and third year medical student from Queen’s University. As we chatted during the evening, both agreed that WGH is a unique environment to work in, the great reward comes in feeling closely connected to patients and having a positive impact on patient care, more-so than in a larger centre .

We went to clinical rounds early Friday morning which are very inter-disciplinary, each inpatient case is discussed to plan for the next week of care.

I lost count as to the number of times lab results were mentioned in directing the course of treatment. We spent the rest of the day reviewing instrumentation and Biochemistry and POCT test menus and then met with a couple of the physicians to discuss what was needed in terms of laboratory testing to better serve their patient population.

Dr. Ivan Blasutig, Biochemist

Although the outside temperature was hovering around -20, the sun was gorgeous and it was time to leave on the Friday afternoon to catch our flights back to Toronto. I would go again in a heartbeat! The northern lights were not dancing the night we were there but hopefully I will see them next time as I understand the view of the lights from Moose Factory is among the best.

The image of the sun is a particular atmospheric event captured on camera by Sean Davies, Laboratory Manager, Weeneebayko General Hospital.

The photo is that of a “sun dog” – due to ice crystals high in the atmosphere. The multiple refractions occurring are rather rare, so the sky has to be just right for the visual treat to be seen. Sean says “literally there was a ring of light and rainbows in the entire sky.”

"Sun Dog"


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