Scans at Dawson Creek Hospital called into question

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A radiologist who worked in Dawson Creek over a two-month period last year has had his work reviewed by Northern Health.

The specific radiologist had been working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox and was in Dawson Creek area only for a short period of time.

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According to Northern Health, the radiologist provided services to the Dawson Creek Hospital during June and July of 2010.

The Health Authority reviewed 100 CT scans done on 94 patients and which were read by the radiologist, says Northern Health Vice President of Medicine Dr. David Butcher.

Butcher says the review found 16 scans had discrepancies in their interpretation, but nothing that would have changed the attending physician’s method of treatment. However, he also says there were six patients whose CT scans were reviewed which showed “significant discrepancies”.

Butcher says Northern Health has asked the patient’s doctors to report if they would have recommended different treatment based on the new information from the review. At this time, he says it does not appear that six patients’ treatment would have changed.

Since the initial readings by the radiologist, five patients have died, however Butcher says Northern Health does not believe their treatment would have changed based on the review of their scans.

The Investigation into Medical Imaging Credentialing and Quality Assurance conducted by Dr. Doug Cochrane, chair of the B.C. Patient Safety and Quality Council, specifically looked at four radiologists across the province.

Those four radiologists had their review of CT scans and obstetrical ultrasound readings called into question.

None of the four radiologists’ whose work was called into question is currently working in B.C.

One of the main recommendations that came out of Dr. Cochrane’s report states that the Province’s Ministry of Health should implement a peer-review system.

The report did find that the 287 physicians currently providing diagnostic imaging services across the province are properly licensed.

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