Up to 108 patients tested for hepatitis, HIV and cancer may be called back after system glitch at two HK public hospitals

25-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

As many as 108 patients who underwent blood serum tests for hepatitis, HIV or cancer over the past year at two public hospitals in Hong Kong could be called back again after a system glitch was found in machines used for the procedures.

The software error could have been triggered under specific circumstances, causing inaccurate readings and wrong test results, according to the Hospital Authority, which announced the blunder on Sunday. This was five days after it was notified by equipment supplier Abbott Laboratories of the bug in its “Alinity ci-series System”.

Abbott Laboratories is an American health care company.

The system was said to be designed to help improve laboratory productivity and get test results faster through automation.

 (Yahoo News Singapore)

(Yahoo News Singapore)

The authority bought a total of 13 machines and they have been in use since June last year at Prince of Wales Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital.

In a statement, the authority said: “The software problem may cause incorrect patient results if the equipment is stopped and then restarted under a particular start-up procedure.” But it did not go into further details.

A review of the system log and testing procedures showed that tests done at Prince of Wales Hospital were not affected, according to the authority.

At Princess Margaret Hospital, 102 tests, mainly for hepatitis and HIV, could be affected. A review found that 35 procedures there could be problematic and may need further checks to determine if retests are needed. Twenty-two patients are affected, with 67 other tests at the hospital confirmed to be correct.

At Tuen Mun Hospital, doctors are still deciding if retests are needed for 92 tumour marker procedures and other analyses involving 86 patients.

An authority spokeswoman sought to ease fears over wrong treatments given to patients, following the technical fault.

“The tests done by the machines are only one part of many that patients need. Doctors will also reference other necessary clinical tests when treating patients,” she said.

“So far, there is no report of patients being wrongly treated because of the software problem.”

She also said doctors were reviewing the need for affected patients to undergo the tests again, and would contact them to explain follow-up arrangements if required.

In 2015, nearly 10,000 people aged 60 or older had their liver test results wrongly interpreted in a blunder at Tuen Mun Hospital involving a machine calibration mix-up that went undetected for two years.

The error was made by a scientific officer and two pathologists. A total of 4,634 men were affected.




Category: Hong Kong

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