New Zealand rad faulted for failing to interpret CT and MRI scans

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A radiologist in New Zealand referred to as "Dr B" has been faulted for failing to interpret CT and MRI scans correctly in two men with liver cancer, according to two reports released July 24 by that country's Health and Disability Commissioner.

The first report concerns a man in his seventies who underwent a CT scan in January 2018 at Southland Hospital in Invercargill to investigate a mass in his liver. Dr. B interpreted the CT scan and reported that the mass was not cancerous.

At a follow-up CT scan in January 2019, the man was diagnosed with cancer that had spread to other parts of his body, and he subsequently died from his illness, according to Health and Disability Commissioner Morag McDowell.

The second report concerns care the radiologist provided at Southland Hospital after a man presented to the hospital's emergency department for stomach pain in 2017. Following an MRI in 2018, the radiologist reported a benign liver lesion and stated that no further follow-up was required.

In 2019, however, the man was admitted to hospital with abdominal pain. An ultrasound identified a substantial increase in the size of the original liver lesion, with an internal multidisciplinary radiology meeting finding the MRI read by the radiologist in 2018 was consistent with liver cancer. The man was subsequently diagnosed with terminal liver and pancreatic cancer, according to the report.

Dr. B no longer works for Southland Hospital, and McDowell has referred the radiologist to the Health and Disability Commissioner's director of proceedings to determine if legal proceedings should be taken, the report stated.

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