Earthquakes and New Lab Test Contracts Shake Up Christchurch’s Pathology Marketplace

It’s been a challenging year for this New Zealand city’s medical laboratory testing professionals

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND—Two private clinical laboratory companies in this city have had quite a roller coaster ride during the past 18 months. Included in the ups and downs were a series of destructive earthquakes, a new contract bidding cycle that eliminated one of the two existing private medical laboratory companies, and a lab acquisition.

For pathologists and clinical lab administrators in other countries, there are useful lessons to be learned in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. Among other things, one clinical laboratory company needed to move its testing facility six different times in a year! That’s because aftershocks and ongoing engineering inspections revealed significant damage to these different buildings at different points in time.

Two Major Earthquakes within Six Months in Christchurch

It was September 4, 2010, when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked the city, causing considerable damage but no fatalities. Just six months later, on February 22, 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch. This second earthquake caused substantial damage and loss of life. For this event, experts noted that the “intensity and violence of the ground shaking was measured to be… among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area.” (more…)