Saving lives using equipment that advances antibiotic use – March 29, 2019

CHARLOTTETOWN – “Over the past several years I have made numerous trips to the QEH emergency department with urinary tract infections,” says 96-year-old Hon. Doris Anderson from St. Peter’s P.E.I. “I was thrilled to learn about this new technology and equipment that advances antibiotic use to help Island patients like me.”

QEH Medical Microbiologist and Infectious Disease Consultant Dr. Greg German states that in the past, patients like Ms. Anderson had to wait a full 24 hours for an infection to be identified. Now with molecular laser technology, results are available within seconds.  

“This means patients are recovering faster with better treatment plans and are going home sooner,” says Dr. German. “We cannot thank the QEH Foundation enough for bringing this health care advancement to the province. This equipment is as innovative as the light microscope was over one hundred years ago.”

Dr. German says Islanders would also be very interested in knowing several other life-threatening conditions such as heart, blood, lung and other severe organ infections are now being treated using this new technology.    

“We call the MALDI-TOF equipment ‘Merlin’, for the magic that it works.”

Dr. German said when the QEH acquired this new laboratory equipment they also received a second piece of technology that enables advanced antibiotic analysis.  “Patients like Ms. Anderson now have even more oral antibiotic options than was previously available.”

A Canadian nutritionist and former senator, Ms. Anderson’s improvement with Dr. German’s care is a national story, highlighted during last November’s Antibiotic Awareness Week. Dr. German has deep admiration for Ms. Anderson, as she is a role model for other independent seniors in how she is optimizing her own health.

Ed Lawlor, chair of the QEH Foundation Board, is thankful for donor support. “Every day I am amazed at the generosity and how new medical equipment is allowing the QEH health care professionals to provide such advanced expertise to Island patients.” 

For more information about the priority medical equipment needs at the QEH, visit

Facts about the QEH Provincial Laboratory:

–             Performs approximately 1.7 million tests per year with about 20,000 urine culture tests taken per year and 4,400 blood cultures processed.

–              MALDI-TOF stands for ‘matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight’ mass spectrometry.

–              The MALDI-TOF is also helping reduce operational costs. The typical cost of bacterial identification was over $5; now it is less than 50 cents.