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CT Scan Scare Unnerves Patients, Officials

Victor Lewin - Wednesday, October 02, 2013

In September, a University of Toronto student received a letter stating that a CT scan that he received may have been inaccurate. The revelation was made after it was found that a radiologist had made errors. It turns out that about 3,500 people received letters of this nature, and some of them may have reason to fear that they may have a delayed diagnosis due to the technician's errors.

The Ontario Health Minister called for a meeting of health care leaders after hearing about these errors. These officials are reportedly looking to British Columbia and Alberta for guidance. The man who received the letter had a vision problem stemming from an injury during a hockey game, and while his problem has cleared up, he says that he has been curious about why his recovery took so long: Specialists informed him that he would not get his vision back until a month. However, it took him three months and an upgraded dose of inflammatory medication.

The facility's own quality assurance program where the radiologist was employed discovered the problem with the 3,500 CT scans. An additional internal investigation revealed that the radiologist had made substantial errors on three out of 150 scans. One of the three was affected by a delayed diagnosis. Another patient also found out that her scan had been misread; she has stage-four cancer, and her treatment was delayed after a tumour by her heart was missed in a CT scan that was conducted five months earlier.

Other provinces have experienced similar problems regarding misread scans and misdiagnoses. An investigation into diagnostic imaging in British Columbia found that misread scans had caused 12 patients to have delayed treatments. Three of those patients died after errors related to their scans were detected.

Halifax personal injury lawyers may be able to assist individuals who have been harmed due to the negligence medical professionals. They may be able to pursue compensation for victims who missed treatment of a delayed diagnosis.

Source: Toronto Star, "A better way to prevent CT scan errors", Theresa Boyle, September 22, 2013

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