Radiographer ‘did not seem aware of basics’ of job, inquiry hears

Ex-colleagues of Kashimbo Musonda reject claim she was treated differently due to race

Radiographer Kashimbo Musonda is facing allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct in connection to events that transpired at University Hospital Waterford while she worked there in  2017. Image: iStock.

Radiographer Kashimbo Musonda is facing allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct in connection to events that transpired at University Hospital Waterford while she worked there in 2017. Image: iStock.

 

A radiographer who allegedly mistook a knee for an elbow in an X-ray image and exposed a young patient’s mother to radiation, did not appear to be aware of many of the “basics” of the job, a former collague has told a fitness to practise inquiry.

Kashimbo Musonda is facing allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct in connection to events that transpired at University Hospital Waterford over a 2½-week period up to March 8th, 2017.

The first ever public fitness-to-practise inquiry by Coru, the regulatory body for health and social care professionals, opened in Dublin on Monday.

Ms Musonda faces five allegations including a failure to display the skills or knowledge to safely practise as a radiographer.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, radiographer Fiona Phelan, who also works at University Hospital Waterford, said she was asked to “mentor” Ms Musonda after concerns were expressed about her performance.

Ms Phelan said she felt that when Ms Musonda had started working with her in the A&E room she realised her colleague “wasn’t aware” of “a lot of the basics that we were going through on the day”.

She said Ms Musonda failed to carry out the “triple ID” check to confirm patients’ names, addresses and date of birth when they came into the room for a procedure, and to ask women of childbearing age the date of their last menstrual period in case they might be pregnant.

“It was a regular occurrence,” she said.

Improved

Ms Phelan said that Ms Musonda’s performance in the department may have improved “slightly” and she became more aware of the workflow.

“But at no stage was I happy as her colleague to leave her working independently,” she said.

“From a patient safety perspective, I had grave concerns about her ability within the department.”

Ms Phelan also described an incident on March 8th, 2017 when she left the room for a few minutes when Ms Musonda was performing an X-ray on a paediatric patient. She observed on her return that the patient’s mother was present in the room and was not wearing any lead protection.

She spoke to Ms Musonda after the incident, but she “didn’t seem to think it was a major issue”.

After what the incident, which she said had exposed a member of the public to unnecessary radition, Ms Phelan said she spoke to the radiology services manager, Louise Diamond, who is the complainant in the inquiry.

Ms Phelan and other witnesses who worked with Ms Musonda during her time at the hospital have rejected her claims, made in communications to the registrar, that she was treated differently by her colleagues because of her race.

Ms Phelan said she had found Ms Musonda “very pleasant” and “very chatty” and that she had come to lunch with other staff and seemed to be interacting well with them.

‘Patient safety’

In evidence to the committee at its offices in Dublin on Monday Ms Diamond said Ms Musonda’s performance gave rise to “serious concerns for patient safety”.

Radiographer Keelin Kavanagh told the inquiry that in one incident Ms Musonda had mistaken an X-ray image of a knee for an elbow.

Ms Musonda is not in attendance or represented at the inquiry but she has denied the allegations and said in correspondence that she was saddened they had been made by colleagues.

In an email to Coru’s legal team on Monday, Ms Musonda said that with “deep sadness in my heart” she had been made the subject of “public ridicule” through the reporting of the story online in Ireland.

She did not address the committee’s question to her, through its lawyers, about whether she wished to participate by telephone.

She had also indicated she was in Lusaka in Zambia waiting for a travel visa to be processed by the Naturalisation and Immigration Service in Dublin to attend the inquiry, which continues on Wednesday.