X-ray techs at Kamloops hospital 'don't have time' to fill out error reports | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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X-ray techs at Kamloops hospital 'don't have time' to fill out error reports

Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops.

Earlier this week an imaging technologist at Royal Inland Hospital said the wrong patients are getting X-rayed, but Interior Health denies receiving reports of it. 

The technologist, granted anonymity due to likely job repercussions, cited staffing shortages and communication breakdowns between hospital departments as the main factors contributing to the mix-ups.

"More mistakes are being made and we have accidentally X-rayed the wrong patients,” they said. “This has happened on more than one occasion this year. There are procedures in place on both ends to identify the patient, but communication is falling apart. X-rays are being ordered on the wrong patient, and steps are being missed".

READ MORE: Imaging department at Kamloops hospital also understaffed

Interior Health said in an emailed statement it has had no recent reports in their patient safety learning system related to medical imaging performed on the wrong patient.

When errors occur, staff are to report it through the system to ensure there is appropriate follow-up to address what went wrong. The technologist said because of the short staffing situation it is possible the lengthy reports are no longer being filled and submitted regularly, another symptom of a strained system.

“Because I wasn’t the direct technologist on the cases I cannot be sure if the reports were submitted,” the technologist said. “It is possible the reports were never done because we don’t have time and are stuck prioritizing what needs to be done and leaving the rest.”

They said there are three X-ray rooms and techs take different requisitions, sometimes becoming the main technologist responsible for filling out reports and sometimes helping others on the team.

The technologist said they witnessed two cases this year where the wrong patients were X-rayed, one in April and one in May. 

“Safeguards to ensure this does not happen include asking the patient for their name and date of birth and comparing it with the requisition,” Interior Health said. “For admitted patients, we always ask the name and check their wrist band to verify, comparing that with the request for the exam.”

READ MORE: Kamloops mother, baby sent to Kelowna after closure of pediatric ward at Royal Inland Hospital

The technologist said with so many departments struggling under the pressures of the staff shortage there is more of a risk connections and clear communication will not be made from one department to the other.

“Right after we did the X-rays, the ward called and asked us if we did the X-rays and told us they sent the wrong patient,” they said. “Again, the reports being filed are likely getting missed because we just don't have the time to sit down and do them.”

The authority said medical imaging has faced similar challenges to what we are seeing with other health care workers.

“These technologists are in short supply and high demand. Illness, including COVID-19, is compounding challenges. We would like to thank our entire medical imaging team at RIH for their ongoing dedication to patients during this challenging time.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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