Anyone who saw a radiologist recently in northwestern British Columbia might want to get a second opinion. Turns out, between October 2016 and January 2017, thousands of x-ray, CT scans, and ultrasounds may have been incorrectly analyzed at Terrace Mills Memorial Hospital.
On January 25, physicians realized that an x-ray was read improperly. The discovery prompted the facility to re-examine all of the images the radiologist in question had previously identified. Currently, a group of radiologists from Vancouver General Hospital is re-reading more than 8,400 images from 5,278 patients. They’re prioritizing cancer patients first, and all other patients should expect to hear back about their scans at the end of the month.
According to CBC News, the radiologist responsible for the misread scans is currently on voluntary leave as the physicians continue to re-evaluate their work. “We moved on this as quickly as we could," said Ronald Chapman, MD, president of medicine for Northern Health, a health care system in British Columbia. "It does not mean that all the original readings are inaccurate or incomplete or that a discrepancy will result in adverse health impacts," he said.
This isn’t the first time a radiologist in British Columbia has committed a grave error. Back in 2010, the British Columbia Patient Safety and Quality Council determined that four radiologists in the area were misinterpreting scans. One radiologist’s misdiagnosis led to the death of a cancer patient. These incidents have prompted hospital officials to try and implement more stringent practices.