Georgia hospital offers to repeat hundreds of mammograms after employee error

A Georgia hospital is in hot water after it was discovered that the results of 900 mammograms administered to women throughout last year and early 2010 may be inaccurate. The mammograms were processed as "complete" by a radiology employee at Perry (Ga.) Hospital, who failed to obtain a doctor's approval for the results. 

Perhaps even more disturbing, when calling some of the women to tell them about the possible need for a new mammogram, some hospital employees failed to tell the patients about the employee error. According to 13WMAZ, patient Linda Harrington said a hospital staffer told her during a phone call that the hospital was conducting a quality review and that she needed to be re-screened. During her re-screening, however, Harrington learned that because the machine was new, "so many mammograms" needed to be performed in order to get it cleared. 

It wasn't until Harrington saw television news reports that she felt she had been "lied to." 

"I want honesty," she said. "It's my health. And I don't take my health for granted." 

After discovering the employee's error on April 2, Perry began contacting patients via phone or email to get re-screened. Houston Healthcare, Perry's parent company, issued a statement yesterday indicating the hospital would repeat 900 mammograms from April through June to be "conservative" and ensure that "no one was overlooked." 

"We at Perry Hospital and Houston Healthcare sincerely apologize for and regret that the actions of one of our employees caused our patients inconvenience or concern," the release said. 

Victor Moldovan, who represents Houston Healthcare, told 13WMAZ that the employee who failed to gain approval for the results was fired almost immediately after the hospital found out about the incidents. 

To learn more:
- read this 13WMAZ article on the initial incident
- read this piece about the patient who was lied to
- here's Houston Healthcare's statement
- read this article from The Sun News