P.E.I. Department of Health Refuses to Release Report about Radiologist’s Errors: More problems to come?

by John McKiggan

Here we go again. Prince Edward Island’s Department of Health has been investigating a radiologist (currently on leave) because of what the Department describes as an “unacceptably high” error rate.

However, despite the fact that the radiologist’s mistakes may have an impact on the health and safety of patients in Prince Edward Island, the Department has refused to make the report public.

CBC has reported that Dr. Karunamoy Das has been on leave since an independent audit of his work showed that his interpretation of CT scans, MRI images, x-rays, and ultrasound images had an error rate of 12%. The Department of Health ordered a complete review of all 5,700 diagnostic images that Dr. Das reviewed.

Deputy Health Minister Keith Dewar has said that patients whose records were reviewed have been told of their own results.

The report is just the latest in a string of media reports about problems with medical test results in the various Atlantic Provinces which have included faulty pathology test results in New Brunswick and problems with breast cancer screening test results in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Unfortunately, I think we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. Most health care professionals are capable and hardworking individuals. However, they are working under crushing work loads and severe underfunding of our health care system.

In the short term, the funding crisis is only going to get worse as the global financial crisis impacts Provincial health care budgets. In the long term, the demands on our medical system are going to increase exponentially as the baby boom generation ages and their health problems become more complicated.

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