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Government must take Responsibility for High Instances of Patient Misdiagnosis – Conway-Walsh

4 May, 2017 - by Rose Conway-Walsh


Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has raised concerns in the Seanad about the high instances of patients being misdiagnosed after presenting at hospital emergency departments. She has requested that the Minister for Health come before the Seanad to outline the safeguards he is putting in place to cease the practice of patients being sent home when they need urgent treatment.

Senator Conway-Walsh said:

“I have requested clear data on instances of misdiagnosis which the public can access.  I gave examples of three patients I know who were sent home from A&E with a fractured back, a broken ankle, and a life threatening illness.  These are only examples of the cases that present to me each week where patients have suffered extensive damage and distress because they have been discharged with wrong diagnosis.

“My initial enquiries have revealed that at the moment there are 50 cases currently being taken against the HSE Western Division alleging misdiagnosis. I intend to seek further information on this issue in the coming weeks.

“Recently, a young father of five died after being sent home from South Tipperary General Hospital three times with a diagnosis of migraine when he was fatally ill and the paramedic’s notes were not read by those charged with treating him.

“It is vital that patients attending hospitals have full confidence in the diagnosis they are given.  Discharging patients to hobble around on broken bones for days until a qualified experienced clinician can read an x-ray/scan or accurately analyse blood tests has to be addressed.  Clinicians who are unable to carry out these basic duties should not be in a position where they are making decisions around patient care plans.  It is not only distressing for patients it is exasperating for other members of staff within these hospitals.

“Instances of misdiagnosis are as a result of the two-tier health system. Most staff at these hospitals perform their duties to the highest standard in spite of overcrowding, worn out equipment, and historic underfunding. The Minister for Health and the Government must take responsibility for delivering safe and timely healthcare to all of our citizens based on need.  We don’t need more managers and more patient surveys we need more beds, more nurses, updated equipment and qualified clinicians who can diagnose and communicate with patients.” 

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