Posted by: Emily | 2009/06/04

Radiologist mistake on MRI

I have a 7 year old dachshund. Last week she started showing signs of pain and eventually slight paralysis in her right hind leg. We took her to the vet and were advised that she needed X-rays, MRI and potentially spinal surgery.

She had the MRI last Friday, and we were very relieved to hear that there was only one " slipped"  disc and that the prognosis post surgery would be very good.

The Radiologist sent his final report through to the Vet who was performing the surgery. Based on this report, they operated on my doggy on Monday afternoon. I phoned the vet for regular updates and was comforted that everything went well.

On Tuesday afternoon, I get a call from the vet saying that " there were complications, and we (hubby &  myself) need to come and see him urgently at 6pm. You can imagine the afternoon I had! I was convinced we were going in to say goodbye.

However, the Vet explained to us that there was a mistake in the Radiologists report (he hadn' t actually seen the scans himself) and as a result he operated on the wrong side of her spine!!! So, my dog had been put through huge surgery for nothing!!! They are operating again today (as I am typing this) - I am praying hard for my little girl. She has such a friendly and happy disposition, which I' m sure will help her to pull though this trauma.

My question is - Can I do anything about the error by the Radiologist? The Vet approached them, and their response was " sorry, but we' ll refund the cost of the MRI" . This just isn' t good enough for me. My poor dog is now going through MAJOR surgery twice, - more trauma, risk, time spent in hospital etc.. etc.. Never mind the stress and lost sleep for us.

Any advice or comments are most welcome.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Dear Emily

I would talk to the radiologist first and if you are still unhappy take things up with the relevant governing body.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2009/06/08

For sure you can report to the relevant governing body. i had a similair situation with my daxie and i was advised to put her down. i decided against it and took her home and kept her isolated for a few days in order to minimise her stress and pain levels and within a week she was fine...that was 10 years ago and we' ve never had a repeat bout. i did however report the vet, i' ve since found out that i was not the only person to have had this sort of experience with that vet in particular. good luck with your doggie ! ps i know a fantastic doggie chiro if you need any help again, my daxies see her often and they are 14 yrs old and in really good nick !

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Chill | 2009/06/04

Just a question: did your vet operate on the dog on the strength of a phone call?

If he received a written report, request a copy and see what it says. If you decide to take things further, you' ll need this anyway. Don' t be fobbed off - demand it!

If the mistake was definitely on the part of the radiologists, then your vet should be helping you in your communications with them - he' s the professional, with the ' evidence'  at his disposal, and he' d have far more leverage with them than you would, since he presumable refers business to them regularly.

I' m also interested in why, if the surgery took place on Monday, they only phoned you on Tuesday. Did the vet not notice that he was operating on a healthy part of the dog?

Maybe I just have a nasty suspicious mind... but I' d be asking a whole load of questions of all concerned.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Angie | 2009/06/04

Hi Emily,

Am sorry to hear about your dog. It must be so traumatising for the dog. I wish him well &  pray that he gets well soon.

I hope you are able to do something about the misdiagnosis.

Reply to Angie
Posted by: Kitten | 2009/06/04

If you are in the Cape Town area, please take her to Dr Grey at Panorama Vet. The same thing happening to me where my daschund (also 7) was misdiagnosed because the MRI scans were not read properly. Unfortunately we didn' t picked it up in time and he died of suspected cancer (there was nothing majorly wrong with his back).

Reply to Kitten

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