At least five recalled by Wexford General suspected of cancer

Patient follow-ups in wake of concerns over quality of colonoscopy analyses in hospital

The team carrying out the review at Wexford General Hospital believes that, in some cases, cancers were missed when the patient underwent the original colonoscopy. Photograph: Joe St Leger/The Irish Times

The team carrying out the review at Wexford General Hospital believes that, in some cases, cancers were missed when the patient underwent the original colonoscopy. Photograph: Joe St Leger/The Irish Times

 

At least five patients have been diagnosed with suspected cancer at Wexford General Hospital in the recall prompted by concerns over the quality of the colonoscopy tests they received.

The number of confirmed cancers may rise or fall depending on the outcome of further tests ordered for some patients covered by the review.

The team carrying out the review believes that, in some cases, cancers were missed when the patient underwent the original colonoscopy.

In other cases, they have been unable to establish where the disease was missed or whether it developed after the original test. News of the review first emerged in February when the HSE said it was contacting 271 patients for a follow-up colonoscopy.

The Irish Times last week revealed the review was being doubled in size, with an additional 300 patients being called in. The initial recall was triggered by the discovery that two patients had interval cancers, which are diagnosed between screening examinations, but this number has since increased to between five and 10, according to informed sources.

The further tests being carried out on some patients could result in the reclassification of tests, either positively or negatively. In some cases, it was found the end of the bowel had not been thoroughly examined, leading to concerns that cancers may not have been picked up.

The daughter of one patient said her father was diagnosed with bowel cancer after he was recalled earlier this year for review of a colonoscopy carried out in 2013. The hospital was unable to say whether his was a case of missed cancer when he was tested two years ago, but it was treating it as though this was the case. She said her father was told other patients were informed their cancers were missed.

Disclosure

Colm QuigleyThe Irish Times

Dr Quigley promised the review would be thorough and comprehensive and would be completed as soon as possible. The HSE has said the review process is precautionary and the risk to patients is low.