Radiological examination reveals 66 “major deviations”
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A review of the work of a former deputy consultant radiologist at the Northern Trust identified major discrepancies in 66 images.
The trust completed an examination of 13,030 scans and x-rays.
The review was launched in June after the General Medical Council raised concerns about the work of the deputy consultant radiologist.
The highest level of hospital investigation will be carried out on the cases of 17 patients.
The doctor worked in hospitals run by the Northern Health Trust between July 2019 and February 2020.
Over 9,000 patients were contacted as part of the review.
The trust’s medical director, Dr Seamus O’Reilly, said of the 17 patients, 10 have died since their images were taken.
“I think it’s important to say that patients are dying for a variety of reasons and it would be totally wrong at this point to link those deaths to inaccurate image reporting,” he said.
“It’s a possibility and the ISC will be looking at it very closely. “
- More than 9,000 patients contacted during a radiological examination
- “Major discrepancies” found in radiologists’ examination
The review identified six images at level one – a major discrepancy where errors or omissions in the reports could have had an immediate and significant clinical impact for affected patients.
Sixty other images were level two – a major discrepancy with probable clinical impact.
“Most of the images classified as having level 1 and level 2 deviations are CT scans, but some are MRIs, chest x-rays and other x-rays,” said Dr. O’Reilly.
He said images where concerns were rated level one and level two were reviewed weekly by a panel of experts.
They also took into account certain images classified at level three, where a clinical impact is unlikely.
“This detailed clinical assessment, which resulted in the recall of 69 patients, was to determine whether clinical damage had occurred as a result of the discrepancies found in the retrospective examination,” said Dr. O’Reilly.
“I can confirm that after careful consideration, the clinical evaluation group determined that 17 patients should now be included in a Level 3 serious adverse event (SAD) review.”
Dr O’Reilly said an independent panel will provide individual case reports for each patient determined to be an SAI, explaining what happened, why it happened and how it may have impacted the patient / parent and whether the patient’s result would have been different if the deviation had not occurred.
He added that the panel should make recommendations on how radiology reporting processes can be strengthened to minimize the possibility of similar adverse events occurring in the future.
The trust said it will now contact affected patients and families to inform them of the ongoing review of the SAI and to solicit their participation throughout the process.
- NI Health
“Major discrepancies” found in radiologists’ examination
- July 28
More than 9,000 patients contacted during a radiological examination
- June 29
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