GI cancer

Patients recalled for repeat cancer screens after nurses question doctor’s competency

Thursday, 5 Jul 2018

Almost 400 patients in Tasmania are being advised to have repeat colonoscopies due to concerns that some parts of their bowel may have been missed in cancer screening procedures by an ailing gastroenterologist.

Calvary Health Care is contacting all patients who underwent a colonoscopy with the late Dr Hugh Jackson between November 2017 and May 2018 at Calvary Lenah Valley Hospital in Hobart to offer them a repeat procedure at no cost.

Dr Jackson, 71, died on June 6, and the recall move follows concerns raised by staff about how his health may have affected his clinical performance during colonoscopies.

“Our nursing staff made observations during some of the cases during that period that the entire bowel may not have been viewed, and based on expert advice and based on precaution we’re contacting all patients that had a colonoscopy,” Calvary’s National Chief Operating Officer, Mr Matt Hanrahan, told the ABC.

Mr Hanrahan said medical expert advice was that the risk to patients was low but all are being advised to undergo a repeat colonoscopy.

“This advice will be discussed with every patient in a face-to-face clinic meeting to consider their personal situation,” he said.

Mr Hanrahan added: “We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience or distress this may cause patients and their families.  Patients will not pay any costs associated with this process nor the repeat procedure.”

He said Calvary had identified all patients who may have been affected and each is being contacted individually by an experienced nurse.

Patients who saw Dr Jackson between November 2017 and May 2018 can call the 1800 549 679 number and they will be contacted directly by a nurse if they haven’t already had a direct call.

Meanwhile, medical plaintiff lawyers are saying there could be legal consequences if any of the patients develop colorectal cancer.

“It may well be that the patients who underwent colonoscopies, after the time that [Dr Jackson] should have been removed, may be able to have recourse if they have suffered injury as a result of delay or misdiagnosis of bowel cancer,”  Dimitra Dubrow from Maurice Blackburn told the ABC.

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