Radiographer found guilty of professional misconduct and poor performance

Evidence at fitness to practise hearing described as ‘unreliable, culpatory and self-serving’

A Zambian radiographer who was dismissed from an Irish hospital after two-and-a-half weeks in the post has been found guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance at a fitness to practise hearing.

Kashimbo Musonda, who worked last year in Waterford University Hospital, was found guilty on 10 allegations relating to her professional competence.

The fitness to practise committee of Coru, the body regulating health and social care professionals, will decide on what sanctions, if any, to impose at a later date.

In rejecting the flat denial of the allegations made by Ms Musonda, the committee also firmly rejected her assertions of a conspiracy, motived by her colour, on the part of other members of the radiography department.


Committee chairman Bryan Hume said it had found no evidence of a conspiracy, and it was “unlikely in the extreme” that such a conspiracy could be formulated in so short a time for no apparent reason.

The radiography department in Waterford employed staff from many different countries, including one who had trained in the same institute as Ms Musonda, he pointed out.

Ms Musonda was found guilty of failing to triple check patient identification before exposure to radiation and failing to enquire whether female patients were pregnant.

Mr Hume said there were “multiple and repeated failures” to triple ID patients and described the failure to check whether patients were pregnant as a “most serious breach of standards of competence”.

In evidence during the six-day hearing, one radiographer had alleged Ms Musonda could not identify an elbow from a knee on an X-ray scan, but an allegation that she failed to accurately identify anatomy on image was found to be not proven.

It was also alleged in evidence she had allowed the mother of a young child to be exposed to radiation without lead protection during an X-ray screening.

This allegation was found to be proven by the committee, with Mr Hume describing her evidence “unreliable, culpatory and self-serving in the extreme”.

The committee was satisfied the mother had been exposed to unnecessary radiation, he said, adding that it was a basic tenet of the profession that people should be protected from radiation because of its harmful effects.

Eoghan O’Sullivan, barrister, for Coru, said the fact Ms Musonda repeatedly failed to put into practice what she learned in college and act according to standards expected of her profession called into question her ability to practise safely into the future.

He said her “lack of insight” about the errors was an aggravating factor. “If you do not accept there are deficiencies in your ability to practise safely, how can you be expected to deal with them.”

Ms Musonda, who did not attend the first three days of the hearing in September but travelled from Zambia for hearings this week, said she gave God “glory and honour in all of this”. She said she had never had any problem working anywhere else and her images were of high quality.

“I’m happy that I know in myself that I’m able to work and there are people who recognise my work.”

She said she has five children and also supports her mother and the three older children of her deceased sister. She would be affected if any sanctions imposed by the committee were applied at home.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.