Misdiagnosis leads to death

THE state coroner has found a woman who died after being sent home from the Launceston General Hospital had been misdiagnosed. 

Norwood resident Maureen Ann Rogers, 71, was discovered dead inside her home on November 3, 2012.

Mrs Rogers had been sent home from the LGH at 5.30pm the previous day after being treated for more than nine hours.

Mrs Rogers had earlier presented to the hospital’s Emergency Department suffering from stomach pain.

She was diagnosed and treated for gastritis.

But coroner Rod Chandler found Mrs Rogers was in fact suffering from a serious heart condition known as an aortic dissection, which required immediate surgery.

Handing down his ruling yesterday, Mr Chandler determined LGH medical staff had failed to properly diagnose Mrs Rogers and recommend the necessary treatment.

He said their failure had denied her all opportunity of a full recovery and longer life.

Mr Chandler said Mrs Rogers’ aortic dissection would have been clearly visible in a CT scan conducted by radiologist Dr Anil Gupta, which should have been recognised and reported.

Mr Chandler recommended the hospital undertake a review of the competence of its radiological staff.

He said the review should be carried out with a view to putting in place, if necessary, processes for their updated training and proper supervision or monitoring of their work.

In a statement, the Launceston General Hospital said it accepted the criticism certain aspects of hospital practice led to a delay in the appropriate diagnosis of Mrs Rogers.

It said the hospital had instituted some changes in processes in anticipation of Mr Chandler’s recommendations.

Among the changes made were the implementation of an annual, independent audit of clinical reporting of X-rays and scans performed by all radiologists working within the hospital.

Both the coroner and Launceston General Hospital extended their sympathies and condolences to the Rogers family.