Radiologist mistakes prompt Ontario hospitals to review 3,500 CT scans, mammograms

Watch: (Sept. 12) Ontario officials review results of 3,500 CT scans & mammograms looking for possible errors. Global National’s Christina Stevens has the story.

TORONTO — Health officials are reviewing the results of 3,500 CT scans and mammograms at two hospitals in Mississauga, Ont., because of potential errors caused by a radiologist’s “performance issue.”

Trillium Health Partners, which makes up three Mississauga hospitals, said the tests taken between a year-long block — from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 — are getting a second look in case of mistakes.

At least one patient has been misdiagnosed, Trillium chief of staff Dr. Dante Morra said Wednesday night.

One radiologist conducted the tests at Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre. He is no longer working at the hospitals, Trillium said in a statement.

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Now, an external review team has been called in. Dr. Brian Yemen will be reviewing the scans along with a team of radiologists.

Yemen is the chief of diagnostic imaging at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre and of McMaster University’s Medical Centre.

So far, patients and physicians whose tests are part of the review have been notified. They’ll be contacted again as soon as their tests have been reviewed, the hospitals say.

“We apologize for any concern the news of this review may cause and want our patients and community to know it is being done to ensure the highest quality of care at our hospital,” Michelle DiEmanuele, president and CEO of Trillium Health Partners, said.

Read the organization’s statement on its website here.

WATCH: Thousands may have had radiology exams misinterpreted. Alan Carter reports. 

Yemen’s review into the incident will be made public once it’s complete. It will be expanded as necessary, the health centres say.

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In the meantime, patient  (905-848-7534) and physician (905-848-7541) access lines have been set up to field any questions.

Samantha Lopes’ father was one of the patients on the list who were notified that their results may have errors. Following his CT scan, he didn’t hear back from the doctors.

“From what we know, doctors said it didn’t show anything. We got no results, calls, we got nothing back from the hospital,” Lopes said.

By the time she took her father in to hospital Saturday, doctors told her they were “lucky” – his lymph nodes were the size of olives when they should be the size of rice grains. That day, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Oncologists are only conducting biopsies now to see how far along his cancer is.

“They were shocked my dad had no idea that he had cancer,” Lopes said.

Dr. Ivo Slezic, who had been with the centre for the past 33 years, voluntarily left his posting on April 1.

The concerns from his testing stemmed from a quality assurance review led by Morra. He also conducted other types of diagnostic testing, the report said.

Other reports suggest that 189 patients who had multiple tests done were part of the review.

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Siskinds LLP lawyer Matt Baer said that doctors have a duty of care they’re expected to follow when looking after patients.

“Whenever your health is involved, it’s very important, these people should be alarmed and very concerned. Something might not be done appropriately in handling their health,” he told Global News.

“It’s certainly worth looking at and making sure you got the right treatment and getting a second opinion and if you find out something did happen, you definitely would want to consult a lawyer.”

On Thursday, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said she’s been assured that the cases “are being reviewed as quickly as possible so that follow-up care can be provided.”

In 2011, a Windsor, Ont., surgeon performed two unnecessary mastectomies on her patients. Dr. Barbara Heartwell became the subject of several investigations after it was revealed that she mistakenly removed the healthy breasts of two women at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital.

An Ontario report into the errors largely cleared Heartwell, but “significant concerns” surfaced about another physician.

CT scans are used by doctors to visualize nearly all parts of patients’ bodies. They’re a series of X-ray views that when put together can provide a 3D image.

Mammograms offer physicians a picture of the breast used to screen for cancer.

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According to data collected by the Canadian Institutes for Health Information, about 113 per 1,000 Ontarians get CT scans annually.

– With a file from the Canadian Press

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