Kerry hospital issue 'greater than a single doctor', says councillor

A Kerry councillor says she is concerned a single doctor is being scapegoated for wider systems failings at University Hospital Kerry.

Yesterday, a review of radiology scans found that 11 patients at the hospital had their cancer diagnoses delayed, four of them have since died.

A report into the matter calls for an external review of management at the radiology department.

Sinn Féin councillor Toireasa Ferris says senior managers were made aware of problems in the department yet they failed to act.

She says yesterday's report could have delved into the issue a little further.

"It's bizarre that this review was even carried out without even speaking to the staff members in that department

"So they are going to initiate another process, make findings on that and eventually get around to introducing the recommendations they are suggesting.

It doesn't give me faith in the system because the issue is greater than a single doctor in a single department in the hospital.

Yesterday's report revealed that four out of 11 patients whose diagnoses were delayed have died.

The delay in one case was 76 weeks. The patient has since died of lung cancer.

In addition to the 11, another three patients’ cancer went undiagnosed.

Among the deceased are:

  • A patient with advanced bone metastases whose diagnosis was delayed 37 weeks;
  • A patient with a rectal tumour whose diagnosis was delayed by seven weeks;
  • A patient with pancreatic cancer whose diagnosis was delayed by six weeks.

A number of patients are terminally ill.

Of the 11 delayed diagnoses, three were detected by audit, the remainder largely due to patients re-presenting at UHK.

The hospital, the group, and the HSE apologised “sincerely and unreservedly” to patients and families harmed by delayed diagnoses when the review was published yesterday.

Digital Desk

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