Radiographer says fitness to practice inquiry ‘inspired by hatred’

Kashimbo Musonda, who allegedly mistook a knee X-ray for an elbow, is facing allegations of professional misconduct

A radiographer has claimed a fitness to practice inquiry  had proceeded unfairly in her absence. Photograph: iStock

A radiographer has claimed a fitness to practice inquiry had proceeded unfairly in her absence. Photograph: iStock

 

A radiographer has claimed a fitness to practice inquiry into her work was “inspired by hatred” and had proceeded unfairly in her absence.

Kashimbo Musonda, who allegedly mistook a knee X-ray for an elbow, is facing allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct. They relate to events at University Hospital Waterford over a 2½-week period to March 8th, 2017.

On Wednesday the committee heard expert opinion on X-rays taken by Ms Musonda of 23 patients, which raised a number of issues including the over-exposure or unnecessary irradiation of parts of people’s bodies.

Ms Musonda is facing five separate allegations including a failure to display the skills or knowledge to practice safely. It is the first such fitness to practice inquiry conducted by Coru, the body regulating health and social care professionals.

Although Ms Musonda has denied the charges, she has not attended the proceedings or been represented at them.

In an email received during evidence on Wednesday, she accused the committee of proceeding without her even though it was her “deepest desire” to be there. She is currently in Zambia and said she is awaiting a visa to return.

“I am now asking: where is the justice and fairness in this matter?” she asked in the email read out to the committee by Coru’s barrister Eoghan O’Sullivan.

“As much as I know deep down in my heart that all allegations brought against me are inspired by hatred and a cover-up to protect themselves at the expense of a defenceless African like myself, I am still currently awaiting my visa.”

The committee did not immediately respond to the email’s content. It had, however, contacted Ms Musonda to inquire whether she wished to participate by phone but did not receive a reply.

Mr O’Sullivan said some of her claims were false and, referring to past correspondence, said she had sought previous postponements of hearings and this had been agreed to.

‘Totally unacceptable’

Eileen Kelly, radiography services manager at University Hospital Galway, gave her opinion on numerous X-rays taken by Ms Musonda.

In one case, involving an 18-month-old girl, she explained an X-ray of the pelvis led to a significant portion of her body outside the “area of interest” being unnecessarily exposed. Part of the hands of the girl’s carer were also exposed. Other X-rays demonstrated poor image quality.

Among her assessment of competence in several areas of Ms Musonda’s work, Ms Kelly said allegedly mistaking a knee for an elbow – had she examined the image as opposed to merely glancing at it – would amount to professional misconduct.

“A knee and an elbow are very different joints and no radiographer in my experience would ever mistake one for the other,” she said.

Ms Kelly was critical of another alleged incident in which Ms Musonda unnecessarily exposed the mother of a child patient to radiation by failing to ensure she was protected during three separate X-rays.

“I have never seen it happen,” she said, describing the incident as “totally unacceptable”.

The committee will hear closing submissions at a later date.