Number of missed diagnoses rises in Kerry hospital scan review

114 patients recalled for repeat imaging amid review of more than 46,000 hospital scans

The scans examined, including X-rays, cat scans and ultrasounds, relate to work carried out by one individual who is no longer working at the hospital. Photograph: Getty

The scans examined, including X-rays, cat scans and ultrasounds, relate to work carried out by one individual who is no longer working at the hospital. Photograph: Getty

 

The number of patients recalled at University Hospital Kerry for repeat scan procedures has increased substantially in a week and the number of missed diagnoses has risen.

The errors uncovered this week are likely to go back to mid 2016.

A weekly report by the South/South West Hospital Group (SSWHG) confirms the following updates on the review under way at University Hospital Kerry into some 46,000 scans related to more than 26,000 patients.

In total, 114 patients have been recalled for repeat imaging. Four patients will require further investigation this week.

More than 80 per cent of the 46,235 images have now been reviewed by the 10 radiologists undertaking the review. The scans are the work of a single radiologist between March 2016 and July 2017.

At a briefing in early December, senior hospital managers said the team were working backwards chronologically.

That means the scans misdiagnosed and the patients recalled this week relate to almost two years ago.

“The South/South West Hospital group have also been notified of two additionally missed/delayed diagnoses bringing the total identified to date from seven to nine,” SSWHG said in a statement.

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae repeated his request for a breakdown of the radiological work at the hospital’s radiology department .

The five radiologists in the department are working under a variety of contracts. Two are on permanent HSE contracts; one is on a long-term agency contract; one is on a long-term HSE locum contract; and one is on a short-term agency contract.

The review of scans got under way in October but only became public in December.

A number of extra radiologists were added to the review team when the review came to light.

Up to October, seven patients had been seriously misdiagnosed.

Public representatives in Kerry have warned against scapegoating an individual, saying the workload of a single radiologist appeared huge.

Hospital management have said the team is commensurate with a hospital of its size but said it will look at this aspect as part of the review. Some work is being outsourced because of pressure, it said.