Toronto radiologist’s 3,500 CT scans, mammograms reviewed

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At least one patient’s treatment was affected by a radiologist’s error, says a chief doctor at Trillium Health Partners, where an external review is checking the results of 3,500 CT scans and mammograms.

The review covers the work of radiologist Dr. Ivo Slezic at the Mississauga Hospital and the Queensway Health Centre in Toronto from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013.

“There is one patient that has been notified that had a clinically significant event,” said Dr. Dante Morra, chief of medical staff at Trillium Health Partners, who spoke to the patient. “I think it was difficult for that patient.”

An internal review at the hospital identified three interpretive errors. While the other two patients were fine, the timing and treatment of the third was affected, Morra said.

Dr. Dina Reiss, a doctor of internal medicine who works at Trillium, said she is telling her patients not to be “too paranoid.”

Reiss said that radiologists, who are charged with looking at a scan and interpreting the results, are highly trained doctors.

“They’ve gotten a ton of training. They have their medical training, they’ve done a residency, they’ve passed their boards and their exams,” she told CBC News in an interview on Thursday. “And with medicine, there are a lot of grey areas. As doctor, if I’m not sure, I will talk to other doctors. It’s the same with a radiologist. If I were the radiologist and [the results weren’t definite], I would consult other doctors.”

Although she has told her patients not to worry too much, she admits it could make many people scared.

“The unfortunate thing is with cancer, if you don’t catch it right away, it’s not a good thing,” said Reiss. “Unfortunately, when a patient comes in and gets a scan read and he’s told, ‘You’re completely fine’ and then —this has happened to a few patients — you have to go back and say ‘Ooh, there was something there,’ it’s not a good thing.”

Medical malpractice lawyer Paul Harte is fielding calls from concerned patients and has consulted with one family.

“In this particular case, the patient was ultimately diagnosed with lung cancer and they were suspicious as to whether or not that cancer was apparent in an an earlier CT, which had been interpreted by this doctor as normal.”

All of the patients involved have been notified by letter. About 3,500 patients have been affected, including 189 people who had multiple scans, spokeswoman Carol Kotecka said.

Trillium Health has launched an external review team, led by Dr. Brian Yemen, chief of diagnostic imaging, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre and McMaster University Medical Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences.

Yemen said he appreciates how difficult the news is for patients and families.

“We are doing everything we can to complete the review quickly and properly,” Yemen said in an interview. “Really my job is to make sure the patients have received the right care, and if they haven’t, then to identify and take the proper steps immediately.”

Review could expand

Deb Matthews, Ontario’s health minister, said Thursday she was confident cases “are being reviewed as quickly as possible so that followup care can be provided.”

Yemen said today that the review will be done in about six weeks. As many as 17 radiologists on the review team will start with the most recent cases where there’s probably the biggest potential impact on patient care, he said.

They will base their work on a U.S. radiology college’s acceptable error rate of about two per cent, because an error rate higher than that raises flags, Yemen said.

Yemen said the scope of the review could expand if needed.

The head of the hospital issued an apology and said the hospital will follow up directly with all patients as soon as their tests have been reviewed.

Are you affected?

“We apologize for any concern the news of this review may cause and want our patients and community to know it is being done to ensure the highest quality of care at our hospital,” said Michelle DiEmanuele, chief executive of Trillium Health.

Dr. Mark Prieditis, president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists, said the group support’s the hospital’s decision to conduct a review.

“Maintaining the trust and confidence of our patients is vitally important to us,” Prieditis said in a statement. “While we await Dr. Yemen’s findings, it would be imprudent to rush to judgment. This situation is complicated and requires due consideration by leading experts in diagnostic imaging.”

Harte said the hospital is to commended for conducting an investigation, but he has some concerns about why it took almost five months to notify patients who may have time-sensitive illnesses such as cancer.

Emergency Numbers

Patients with any concerns can call Trillium Monday to Friday, 7 a.am. to 9 p.m. and weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: 905-848-7534

Physicians have their own dedicated line to Trillium. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: 905-848-7541

Source: CBC. You can read the article here.


Revolutionary and Safe Diagnostic Tool Detects Hidden Inflammation: Thermography

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You might not realize that cancer is now the disease most likely to lead to your death. It passed heart disease as the #1 killer a number of years ago.

And if you are a woman, breast cancer is the type of cancer you are most likely to get.

There are many approaches you can take to prevent breast cancer (or any cancer), including the dietary changes and lifestyle modifications I recommend on my site.

However, if you already have breast cancer — even in the early hidden stages — you need a radically different strategy, since the cancer could kill you before your dietary and other changes take effect.

Let me say this about mammograms: you may think they are the ideal screening tool to give you a warning stage before the cancer becomes far more difficult to treat. Unfortunately…

Mammograms Can Actually INCREASE Your Risk of Breast Cancer

That’s why I don’t recommend mammograms, despite what you may hear from other medical sources. They expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray — this makes you vulnerable unnecessarily to further risks of radiation-induced cancer.

Additionally, mammography compresses the breasts tightly (and often painfully), which could lead to a lethal spread of any existing malignant cells.

And there is no solid evidence that mammograms save lives. In fact, research demonstrates that adding an annual mammogram to a careful physical examination of the breasts does not improve breast cancer survival rates over getting the examination alone.

“The FDA states that mammography is still the most effective screening method for detecting breast cancer in its early, most treatable stages. The FDA also states that thermography devices should not be used as a stand-alone method for breast cancer screening or diagnosis.”

The Newest Safe Cancer Screening Tool

Fortunately, you now have some very effective options based on finding inflammation — the precursor to many of these types of cancers.

For the longest time, it wasn’t well-known that inflammation was the culprit responsible for many chronic diseases. However, many physicians like me now recognize that inflammation is a precursor to many diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

And here’s some good news: early detection of inflammation may help you prevent many negative health conditions from developing.

And while you can reduce inflammation with dietary changes, nutritional supplements, antioxidants, detoxification, stress reduction, and more…

Here’s my diagnostic recommendation:

Find Out If You Have Inflammation Before it Becomes a Major Problem

Although this information is of particular interest to you if you’re a woman, men will also find it extremely helpful.

There’s a new diagnostic high-tech tool that I’ve recently welcomed to my clinic and it specifically measures inflammation.

It’s called thermal imaging or thermography. In a nutshell, this tool creates a digital map of your body that illustrates heat patterns — patterns that may detect some condition or abnormality. It uses a scanning-type infrared camera that measures your body surface temperature, presenting the information as a digitized image.

These thermal images (called thermograms) are analyzed for abnormalities that may be signs of disease in your body. Additionally, since your body is thermally symmetrical if normal, thermal asymmetries can indicate problems.

I recommend this tool because measuring inflammation through thermal imaging is a proactive, preventative method you can use for detecting disease, which significantly improves your chances for longevity and good health.

Additionally, thermograms provide:

  • Reliable and accurate information for diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis…
  • Precise and objective data from accurate measurements of thermal information…
  • Considerable financial savings over conventional investigations…

 

And unlike most diagnostic tests, thermal imaging is:

  • Not painful
  • Non-invasive…
  • Quick – your multi-image exams usually take less than 15 minutes…
  • Makes no contact with your body — with no body part compression (such as what you experience with mammograms)
  • Emits absolutely NO radiation

 

“How Can Thermography Really Help Me?”

If you’re wondering how this new diagnostic system will specifically help you better achieve your health goals, let me reassure you:

There are a number of areas in which thermography will help you better understand your body. But it specializes in:

  • Breast Imaging
  • Pain Diagnostics
  • Early-Stage Disease Detection

 

Yes, it’s true. Thermograms provide you with early diagnosis and treatment assistance in such problems as cancer, inflammatory processes, neurological and vascular dysfunction, and musculoskeletal injury.

What Else Can Thermography Help Detect in Your Body?

Early stage disease detection is another area in which thermography excels. For instance, let’s take heart disease prevention.

Thermography screenings can assess heart function and detect inflammation in the carotid arteries (which may be a precursor to stroke and blood clots). When inflammation and/or occlusion of the carotid is visible, your doctor may do additional testing. Earlier detection of a heart problem may save your life.

And here are some other examples:

  • Arthritis: Thermography can help you detect early signs of arthritis — and differentiate between osteoarthritis and more severe forms like rheumatoid. Effective early treatment strategies can then be implemented, before you experience further degeneration.
  • Neck and Back Pain: Thermal pain patterns ‘light up’ white and red hot on a scan in the involved area. You can get relief faster and begin restorative care that more precisely targets the correct area.
  • Dental Issues: If you have TMJ, gum disease, or an infected tooth, this will show up on a thermal scan as white or red hot.
  • Sinus Issues & Headaches: Significant heat in your forehead or sinus region revealed on a thermal scan is an indicator that these systems in your body are not functioning properly.
  • Immune Dysfunction, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue: The immune system correlates to the T1 and T2 areas of your spine — high levels of heat in that region can indicate immune dysfunction. On the other hand, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and aching joints are just a few complaints that correlate to cool patterns seen at this area.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS): This condition is often misdiagnosed. For instance, you may think you have CTS, yet the scan shows your neck is referring pain from a different affected area. This will help you get the most appropriate treatment.
  • Digestive Disorders: Irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease are often visible with thermography. If you’re able to address these conditions early on, you’ll find that health restoration is much more likely.
  • Other Conditions: Including bursitis, herniated discs, ligament or muscle tear, lupus, nerve problems, whiplash, stroke screening, cancer, and many, many others.

 

To read Dr. Mercola’s full article, click here.


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