Thousands left wondering after SA Health body part blunder

Jun 20, 2017

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Thousands of patients will be left wondering whether their scans were done correctly after it emerged SA Health had mislabeled 300,000 medical images.

The mix-up has seen basic body parts wrongly identified, including wrists labeled as feet, brains as chests and breasts as heads, reports The Advertiser.

“If the health department were a private company they probably would’ve been closed down some time ago,” employee advocate Gary Collis told Leon Byner on Tuesday.

“When you look at the chemotherapy tragedies, when you look at the Oakden tragedies, now we’ve got thousands and thousands of people going to wake up this morning, read the paper and then get totally stressed wanting to know whether their scans have been done correctly or not,” he said.

“It’s an absolute disgrace.

“If it was a private company, SafeWork SA would be in there prosecuting this department for the tragedies and the mismanagement that carries on and on and on.”

Jeremy Sammut from the Centre for Independent Studies told Leon the burden of the blunder would be carried by “patients who now might have the anxiety of whether their test are accurate or not”.

“There’ll be a lot of people who are now scrambling to try and get their tests redone and make sure their diagnoses are accurate.

“This will put a lot of anxiety on families and the individuals as well,” he said.

SA Health has exonerated itself in a two-sentence statement from consultant radiologist Dr Jim Buckley sent to The Advertiser:

“There was an issue identified with the mislabelling of some files during the 2015 data migration from our old radiology reporting system to the ESMI system,” it states.

“This has not impacted patient care or the ability of clinicians to appropriately treat their patients.”

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