Radiological machines failing during clinical procedures
Posted in [Blog Medical Negligence ] on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
It has been reported by Paul Mulholland in The Medical Independent that a HSE internal document, Risk Status on Medical Equipment August 2019, has highlighted the problem of outdated radiological machines ‘failing’ during clinical procedures.
Over a two-year period, 86% of the most unreliable radiological devices are older than 10 years and 54% of these devices have had more than 10 failure events per year during a clinical procedure. These devices include critical radiology systems, such as interventional fluoroscopy, CT or MRI that are required during medical emergencies.
Since the HSE’s national equipment replacement programme was established in 2012, total investment has been €164 million. This equates to a yearly average of €33 million. As a result of shortfalls in the investment of equipment over a number of years, the value of the backlog of ageing medical equipment greater than 10 years has risen to €392 million.
Concerns were reported by the HSE’s corporate estates regarding the backlog of aged and at risk critical equipment as far back as 2016. The HSE’s new capital plan states that annual investment in equipment will be “significantly” increased over the coming years. However, in the interim it is extremely concerning for patients in an emergency situation that there may be a delayed diagnosis owing to the fact that outdated radiological devices are failing during clinical diagnostic procedures. In the most serious situations this could potentially result in a patient’s death for example if radiology investigations could not be carried out before emergency surgery.
Furthermore if there is some injury caused to a patient due to a defective medical device that is greater than 10 years old, the provisions of the Liability for Defective Products Act 1991 which provides for strict liability for damages will not apply and a patient would have to rely on ordinary principles of negligence against a manufacturer of the medical device and the HSE for failing to maintain and replace medical equipment.
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Pat’s first 10 years of her professional life were in Nursing. She trained and qualified as a Nurse (RGN) in London. On qualifying, she specialised in Intensive Care nursing and obtained a number of post graduate nursing qualifications. Pat worked in various Intensive Care Units in the London area to include Great Ormond Street, the London Chest Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital where she was appointed to the position of Senior Sister in Intensive Care. Thereafter, Pat studied Law and on obtaining her Law Degree and Solicitors’ Final Examinations she did her apprenticeship with a London firm who had a renowned reputation for medical negligence. On qualifying, Pat remained with the same firm and was made Partner. She was instrumental in the firm obtaining one of the first (if not the first) Legal Aid franchise for medical negligence in the UK. Pat remained with the firm for 13 years. In November 2006, on returning home, Pat joined the Medical Negligence team in Cantillons Solicitors. Pat’s combined nursing and legal knowledge has been invaluable in her practice.
Over the last two decades, Pat has brought a significant number of high value complex catastrophic injury cases to trial to include Cerebral Palsy, Erbs Palsy, acquired brain injuries, maternal death, obstetric injuries and ophthalmic injuries.
- Registered General Nurse (RGN), Senior Sister in Intensive Care 1979-1989
- LLB (Hons), London: 1992
- Solicitors Final Examinations, London 1993
- Solicitor and Partner in London Law Firm from 1995 – 2006