YELLOWKNIFE, NWT – Health authorities in the Northwest Territories and two health regions in British Columbia are reviewing the work of radiologists that appear to have a high rate of discrepancies or misinterpretations.
The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority has been reviewing the diagnostic imaging exams that Dr. Claude Vezina looked at when he practised at Stanton Territorial Hospital in 2015 and 2016.
According to the Vancouver Sun, of 2,100 images re-interpreted by Alberta radiologists so far, 92 required further examination. Of the 92, 64 showed a discrepancy but no mistakes requiring further treatment. However, in 28 cases patients did require further medical attention.
Acting CEO of Stanton, Les Harrison told CBC News in Yellowknife: “I believe there was some harm done to a very small group of patients. I think the goal for us is to be transparent and honest about what happened, and to work with them to the best of our ability to ensure that their care is managed.”
The review was ordered after Dr. Vezina was found to have made hundreds of errors while reading X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans over a four-month period last year at Mills Memorial Hospital, in Terrace, B.C.
In the spring, radiologists at Vancouver General Hospital completed re-interpretations of 8,400 imaging tests that Dr. Vezina had looked at. They found a “clinically significant” (diseases missed or misdiagnosed) discrepancy rate of 10.3 per cent, which is regarded as about double the norm or expected rate.
About 700 Northern Health residents were sent letters advising them to follow up with their doctors to explore whether further testing or treatment was necessary.
Dr. Vezina was not available for comment. He is on leave from his job in Terrace and his status there is under review.
Meanwhile, CBC News reported that another health authority in B.C. is calling into question the work of a radiologist who was responsible for reading thousands of X-rays and scans over a two-month period.
Interior Health says it would be reviewing nearly 2,200 X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound and diagnostic mammography reports read by a doctor who was working temporarily in the Kootenay-Boundary region in May of 2011 and June of 2014.
“The concern has been raised the interpretations may not have been complete reporting or had inaccuracies,” said Dr. Ron Collins from the health agency.
This review impacts 1,790 patients who visited hospitals and health centres from Nakusp, B.C. to Grand Forks who may have had a range of medical issues. “It could be anything from soft tissue injury related to sports up to something much more serious,” said Collins.
Radiologists at Kelowna General hospital have been assisting with the review by rereading the scans.
Regardless of whether there are discrepancies, Interior Health says new reports would be sent to family doctors and patients would receive a follow-up letter.