Technician may have misdiagnosed heart problems for 1,000 patients

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Indy Lifestyle Online

More than 1,000 patients could have been wrongly diagnosed with heart problems after a technician misread ultrasound test results.

An inquiry has begun at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester, after a cardiac technician was found to have reported patients as having heart complaints when readings were normal. Letters have been sent to 1,053 patients alerting them to the errors found in echocardiogram examinations.

"This technician, who was supplied by an agency, is no longer doing any work for the trust," said Dr Ruth Jameson, acting medical director of Pennine Acute Trust, which runs the hospital. "Questions have arisen about the potential accuracy of some of the reporting of echocardiograms ... Some of them have already been invited back for review clinics."

The records of all patients seen by the technician between 23 May and 7 December last year are to be re-examined, she added, stressing that not all patients who had undergone ultrasound heart scans were affected - only those who had seen this specific unnamed technician.

She said the trust was "hopeful" the error has not had "a major adverse effect" on patients. There is a hotline for patients concerned on 0161 656 1999.