Radiographer treated as if she ‘had just come out of the bush’

Zambian-native Kashimbo Musonda denies allegations of poor professional performance

Kashimbo Musonda told a fitness to practise hearing on Wednesday that  she would never expose a patient to unnecessary radiation. File photograph: iStock

Kashimbo Musonda told a fitness to practise hearing on Wednesday that she would never expose a patient to unnecessary radiation. File photograph: iStock

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A radiographer has described how she was shocked at suggestions that she could not identify an elbow from a knee on a X-ray scan.

Zambian-native Kashimbo Musonda said she was treated as somebody “who had just come out of the bush” and had just decided to read X-ray scans.

Ms Musonda was dismissed from her post as a radiographer at University Hospital Waterford on March 10th last year after just two and a half weeks in the post.

She is facing five separate allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct including a failure to display the skills or knowledge to practice safely. It is the first such fitness to practise inquiry conducted by Coru, the body regulating health and social care professionals.

Speaking for the first time at the inquiry, an emotional Ms Musonda said the allegation that she did not know a knee from an elbow had appeared in the Irish media.

It had caused her distress, brought a lot of sadness, her friends were surprised and her family was affected by the suggestion.

Ms Musonda said if she did not know the different parts of the body, she would have failed first year anatomy at college.

“Some of the allegations that were brought against me was that I had zero knowledge of basic radiography like somebody who just came out of the bush and pretended to be a radiographer,” she said.

“That’s how it sounds to me. It’s like I knew nothing about radiography.”

She said the allegation was “demeaning” to her and she had been a radiographer of good standing for many years.

Zambia

Ms Musonda said she studied radiography in Zambia for three years and qualified in 2005. In 2006 she applied for a job in Ireland and got a letter of validation to work in Ireland in September of that year.

She began work in Waterford on February 20th, 2017 and was relieved of her duties on March 10th.

She described suggestions that she had over-exposed some X-rays as “very wrong and false”. She also denied not positioning patients properly for scans and said she always triple checked the identification of patients as per the protocols before proceeding.

Ms Musonda faced criticism at a previous hearing for allowing the mother of a young child to be exposed to radiation without lead protection three times during one screening episode.

The incident occurred on March 8th, 2017 on the last day that she worked at the hospital. She described it as the “worst day ever” for her.

Ms Musonda said she would never expose a patient to unnecessary radiation. She had placed the mother behind a control panel out of harm’s way while she was scanning the woman’s 12-year-old child, but the mother had entered the room while she was carrying out her work.

“I don’t recall at what point she left the control panel because I was busy doing my X-rays. I was not happy at all,” she told the Coru fitness-to-practise hearing.

Ms Musonda said she spoke to a colleague Fiona Phelan who told her that “these things happen” and she should fill out an incident report.

She criticised the manner in which she was dismissed saying that she got a two line statement from the hospital’s human relations (HR) department which was short on detail.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

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