Errors found after patient complained

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Barb Sweet
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A complaint from a patient led Central Health to uncover errors in diagnostic testing reports, and while the authority has found six mistakes, there could be more.

CEO Karen McGrath apologized to patients Friday.

“We want to apologize to all the citizens of central who will be affected by this review. This is not where we want to be,” McGrath said in a phone interview.

“People need to know when this type of incident occurs and, as well, we need to continually ensure we are offering the best quality and safe services we can here in central.”

Central Health revealed the errors Thursday concerning diagnostic imaging reports read at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre in Gander.

The investigation involves some reports produced by two visiting radiologists during the periods of October through December 2010, and May through September 2011. In the errors, reports were based on a patient’s previous test rather than on the most recent one.

The radiologists, who filled in when staff radiologists were on vacation, are from outside the province. But McGrath said the electronic system is standard across the country.

Central Health is developing a database to identify the number of reports that will need to be reviewed. It is expected that this information will be known by Monday.

The probe focuses on tests read by those two radiologists for patients who have had more than one of a particular test. McGrath said a broad review ruled out errors by other radiologists.

Determining if  there are more errors will take a few weeks.

McGrath said the patients who received erroneous reports have been notified and offered apologies.

The affected tests were X-rays, CT scans and MRIs.

McGrath said one patient was harmed by a significant delay in appropriate treatment, causing significant pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress.

Another patient also suffered emotional distress.

Central Health is encouraging individuals with questions or concerns to call the Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine at 1-888-709-2929 (TTY 1-888-709-3555) or contact their physician.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine

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