HSE confirm seven patients whose scans were misread at Kerry hospital have died

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The HSE has confirmed seven patients whose scans were missed or misread and whose cancer diagnoses were delayed at University Hospital Kerry have now died.

It was confirmed at a meeting between senior HSE managers and Oireachtas members in the hospital today.

Errors were spotted in summer 2017 in the case of three patients whose cancers had been missed. The news only emerged in December of that year via a media report.

A review of over 46,000 CT scans, ultrasound scans, and chest X-rays involving 26,000 patients, between March 2016 and July 2017, commenced in late 2017.

The images reviewed were the work of a single consultant radiologist, a locum, working the hospital during the period.

A report into the scandal, published a year later, in December 2018, stated:

The review and its results do not imply that the harm caused was exclusively attributable to the consultant radiologist whose work was reviewed.

"This would be a matter for the Medical Council and therefore is outside the remit of the review team.”

The locum consultant radiologist was placed on administrative leave in late July 2017 and resigned in October that year.

Among the main recommendations by an outside radiologist who carried out the review was the need for the HSE and the Faculty of Radiologists to define acceptable volumes of work for individual radiologists.

A total of 11 people had their cancer diagnoses delayed and four had died at that stage. A number of patients were likely to have died prematurely, the December 2018 briefing heard.

Serious errors were made in the reading of almost 1,300 scans, it emerged.

A number of the patients involved are taking legal proceedings, The hospital has a catchment population of 150,000 spread from Kerry, west Limerick, and north Cork.

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae confirmed today’s meeting in Tralee heard seven people had now died. 

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