There could be a considerable number of compensation claims for radiologist negligence following an HSE-ordered review of thousands of x-rays and scans.
The review of x-rays and other scans was ordered by the Health Service Executive (HSE) following concerns being raised by medical professionals about the standards of three locum radiologists. The radiologists have not been named, but their errors could have affected patients in as many as seven different hospitals.
The three locum radiologists are known to have worked at Kerry General Hospital, Cavan Monaghan Hospital and Bantry General Hospital. The locum employed by the HSE at Bantry General Hospital went on to work in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Wexford General Hospital and Roscommon Hospital.
At Kerry Hospital, six patients had to be recalled due to mistakes made by one of the radiologists during one month in May 2013, while at Cavan Monaghan Hospital sixty-two patients had to be recalled following the review of 2,980 x-rays and scans. The HSE has said that no patient has suffered an “adverse effect” due to the negligence of the radiologists at either of these hospitals; but at Bantry General Hospital it was a different story.
More than 4,000 x-rays and scans had to be reviewed at Bantry General Hospital, and whereas “most” patients suffered no adverse effect, one patient is known to have had a delayed cancer diagnosis. Hospital managers at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and Connolly Hospital are still conducting preliminary audits of the same radiologist´s work, while no patient safety concerns were identified during a review at Wexford General and Roscommon Hospitals.
During the review at Cavan Monaghan Hospital, it was revealed that the radiologist responsible for the recall of sixty-two patients was not on the Medical Council´s specialist register and should not even have been assessing scans. All three locum radiologists have now left Ireland – one is believed to be working in the UK and another in Australia – and have been reported to the Medical Council.
The HSE has been widely criticized by the medical profession for creating the situation in which competent radiologists are no longer entering the profession; and in addition to the cost of conducting the wide-ranging and time-consuming review, the authority will also have to settle any compensation claims for radiologist negligence made by patients who have suffered an adverse effect due to a missed or late diagnosis.