Seven serious cases misdiagnosed by Kerry radiologist

Almost half of 46,000 files produced by consultant have been re-examined so far

A complaint has been made by the Health Service about the radiologist to the Medical Council, who worked in Canada and the United Kingdom before taking up the post in Kerry.

A complaint has been made by the Health Service about the radiologist to the Medical Council, who worked in Canada and the United Kingdom before taking up the post in Kerry.

 

Seven serious cases involving cancer and other serious diseases were missed or misdiagnosed by a University Hospital Kerry radiologist, who has been placed on administrative leave since August.

Last night, the Tralee hospital said 20,171 of the 46,000 files produced by the consultant between March 2016 to July 2017 have so far been examined by a team of eight radiologists.

Besides the seven whose diseases were missed, 21 patients have been brought back for further tests because of concerns about original scans, but they have been given the all-clear.

The examinations team are working backwards with the files, so the hope is that patients seen much earlier by the suspended radiologist would have already come back to hospital for further tests if anything had been missed originally.

Team of five

The consultant radiologist was one of a team of five radiologists at the hospital, which serves the Kerry region, parts of north-west Cork and the western fringes of Limerick.

A complaint has been made by the Health Service about the radiologist to the Medical Council, who worked in Canada and the United Kingdom before taking up the post in Kerry.

Demanding changes, Labour’s Alan Kelly said similar problems had occurred in late 2015 when the work of three locum radiologists in Kerry, Cavan and Bantry had to be re-examined. “I will be seeking answers in the Dáil on this,” he said.

The “look back” of all of the radiologist’s work now underway is one of the largest-ever to have been undertaken in this country, Gerard O’Callaghan of the HSE told a forum of public representatives in Tralee yesterday.

The radiologist was full-time with the Tralee hospital from March 2016 to July 2017, the meeting of Kerry TDs, councillors and health forum members was told.

‘Less serious’

Concerns had been raised earlier in the year about the work of the radiologist but these were “less serious”, according to Dr Claire O’Brien, the clinical director of Tralee hospital.

One such example was a mix-up of the wrong reports going to the wrong patient, for instance a knee X-ray report was sent instead of chest X-ray report, Dr O’Brien said.

Paul Bell, divisional organiser for Siptu’s Health Division, said his union had expressed concern about staffing levels at the hospital in November 2016, but they were ignored.

The radiology department should have 24 staff, but currently has only 22, including consultants, he said. Four more are needed to cover leave and training, he added. “The X-ray department in Kerry is a very unhappy place to work,” he said.