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13 patients may have had cancer misdiagnosed, says HSE report

Hundreds of patients have been called back to Wexford General Hospital to review their previous cancer diagnoses.

THE HSE HAS notified a further 11 patients that they may have had a cancer misdiagnosis at Wexford General Hospital, according to a report seen by TheJournal.ie.

An investigation began in 2015 into a consultant’s assessment of 615 colonoscopy screening at the hospital in 2013 and 2014.

Two patients were previously identified as having been misdiagnosed – the investigation’s findings have brought the total number now to 13.

Wexford TD James Browne (FF) said the HSE now needs to provide certainty for patients over the standards of its cancer screening programme at Wexford General Hospital.

“[Last year] the HSE assured patients that all cases had been thoroughly and comprehensively investigated. However now it transpires that a further 11 cases of possible misdiagnosis have been identified. This is deeply concerning.”

The HSE needs to provide patients with certainty that there will not be a repeat occurrence of misdiagnosis at the hospital.

“New protocols are needed to prevent a repeat of this [and] the HSE needs to ensure the cancer screening programme is adequately staffed and resourced.”

What prompted the report

According to the report, the doctor, referred to as Clinician Y, and the HSE agreed to a review following concerns regarding two patients examined by Clinician Y.

A review of colonoscopy reports since the programme commenced revealed the absence of photographic evidence that the caecum was reached in approximately 30% of Clinician Y’s screening colonoscopies.

The colonoscopy records of the two cancer cases that prompted the review did not contain a photograph of the caecum (a connector of the small and large intestines) either.

No issues were detected with the work of other endoscopists at WGH.

Clinician Y disagreed with these findings and said that he had a “caecal intubation rate of 91%, from data gathered in WGH in 2013″.

According to the report:

…when the colonoscopies were reviewed following the notification of two cancers, the caecal intubation rate for Clinician Y’s BowelScreen colonoscopies was calculated to be 71%.
Two independent reviewers arrived at this rate, on the basis that that either photos were not taken, or were not adequate in 118 patients’ records.

The doctor agreed to stand down from all colonoscopy work on 16 February 2015 pending the results of the investigation.

Read: Mass recalls of colonoscopy patients reveals further cancer risk with patients

Read: Hundreds more patients recalled over fears scans were misread

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