Four patients in Kerry scan review need treatment

Four patients, who were asked to return to University Hospital Kerry (UHK) for further radiological investigation as part of a major review of scans, will require additional treatment.

The four are among a total of 72 patients recalled after concerns were raised in relation to imaging work overseen by a doctor who no longer works at the hospital.

That number could rise further, as more than 12,000 scans have yet to be scrutinised.

The South/Southwest Hospital Group (SSWHG) failed to respond to queries last night as to whether there were any further cases of serious missed diagnosis, in addition to the seven already identified.

To date, 33,950 scans have been reviewed from a total of 46,235. The X-rays, CAT scans, and ultrasounds included in the review involve 26,756 individual patients. Imaging has been reviewed in relation to 20,367 patients.

News of the review broke before Christmas, when it emerged that the SSWHG was re-examining thousands of scans after patient safety concerns emerged during the summer, when the hospital was notified of three serious reportable events.

Clinical director Claire O’Brien said abnormalities were found by a staff member at the hospital, which led to a decision to examine the work of a former staff member. Dr O’Brien said there were serious cases of delayed diagnoses at the hospital.

The hospital confirmed before Christmas that the number of serious delayed diagnoses arising from the review had increased from three to seven.

Yesterday, as part of a review update, the SSWHG said “73.4% of the review is complete... accounting for 76% of 26,756 individual patients”.

“The number of patients who have been recalled for repeat imaging to date is 72,” it said in a statement.

Patients whose scans are being re-examined are from Kerry, north Cork, and south Limerick.

The look-back — which involves up to a dozen consultants, including a number of external doctors — is being conducted in reverse order chronologically, from July 2017 back to March 2016.

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