Friday, June 5, 2009


The Canadian Press reports that a class-action lawsuit has been filed against a Saslatchewan radiologist, the government and several health regions.

(Saskatchewan is the province where Dr. Charles Smith was hired on a one-year contract with the expectation that he would eventually become a full-time employee - with the support of a colleague from medical school - to work as a pathologist after he left Ontario in disgrace. (Smith's contact was terminated after news of his employment became public);

The province of Saskatchewan is conducting an "unprecedented" review of 70,000 medical images analysed by Dr. Darius Tsatsi.)

"SASKATOON - A Saskatchewan radiologist faces a class-action lawsuit over work which has sparked a review of 70,000 medical tests," the CP story, published June 1, by reporter Chris Purdy begins;

"The lawsuit filed Monday by Regina lawyer Tony Merchant also names the provincial government and the three health regions where Dr. Darius Tsatsi worked," the story continues;

"Health officials allowed Tsatsi to read diagnostic tests even though he twice failed radiology certification exams, alleges the suit.

Merchant said the case compares to that of someone who has twice failed a pilot's exam but is hired by an airline to fly planes full of people.

"They knew this was a doctor who shouldn't be doing the work he was doing, but they let him do it anyway," Merchant alleged.

The Saskatchewan government announced last month they were reviewing all of Tsatsi's X-rays, CT scans, mammography and ultrasound tests done in Yorkton, Prince Albert and Swift Current in the past five years.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan stated Tsatsi had fully qualified credentials when he moved from South Africa and received a temporary licence here.

It said questions about his work first surfaced during a routine review of the Yorkton Regional Health Centre in 2006. A competency committee with the college found he lacked some skills and knowledge.

Tsatsi upgraded his skills but twice failed certification exams, the college said. Another committee was appointed to do an audit of 103 of his files, and there were significant discrepancies with some of the results.

Sharon Fabrick of Yorkton is named as the representative plaintiff in the lawsuit. She injured her shoulder in 2007 when she fell off a ladder at work.

According to the suit, Tsatsi performed a number of her tests and identified only soft tissue damage. More than a year later, a specialist reviewing the tests determined Fabrick was wrongly diagnosed and needs surgery.

"She suffered for a year. She's had financial loss for a year. And probably her shoulder will never recover as satisfactorily as it would have recovered if she'd had the proper medical treatment immediately," said Merchant.

Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in court.

Karen Hill, a spokeswoman with the Ministry of Health, said she could not comment on the case.

She said radiologists both in and out of the province are being recruited to help with the review so currently scheduled tests will not be affected."