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Radiologist misses breast cancer in 61 patients

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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An inquiry has revealed that a consultant radiologist at Accrington Victoria Hospital wrongly gave 61 women the all clear for breast cancer.
 
According to the independent report, Dr Glenn Kelly, the former director of breast screening for East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, has been making errors since 2000. The radiologist has not undertaken any clinical work since April 2009, and is currently excluded from duty pending disciplinary proceedings.
 
The original mistake was highlighted through internal monitoring in the screening service which provoked an independent investigation, revealed in September 2009.
 
A review of cases was made between August 2006 and December 2008. Of these, 86 women were re-tested and 20 were diagnosed with breast cancer, despite the Trust originally stating 18 women had developed breast cancer.
 
Scrutiny of Dr Kelly’s earlier work confirmed an additional 41 women had suffered a delayed diagnosis of cancer due to incorrect assessments he had carried out between 2000 and 2006.
 
The report which was published on Wednesday said the radiologist had, “routinely failed to carry out a full and complete assessment on significant numbers of his patients” going back to 2000.
 
According to the report, 92% of Dr Kelly’s patients had not been assessed in line with national guidelines. Furthermore, none of those who were called back for reassessment had undergone an ultrasound examination, despite their mammograms revealing abnormalities.
 
According to Dr Kelly, the reason he missed the cancers between 2006 and 2008, was due to a “direct consequence of illness and stress” which impaired his judgement and concentration.
 
The Trust’s medical director, Rineke Schram, said, “The trust apologises again to all women affected by this incident, and recognises the added distress it has caused to women already suffering the trauma of breast cancer.”
 
If you have suffered with a similar issue, or believe that you have received treatment that has been below a reasonable standard and would like some advice in pursuing such an action, our team of clinical negligence solicitors are able and happy to help, contact our team on 0845 245 6602.
 
By clinical negligence specialist, Adam Pennington
 

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