TWO doctors at a private Melbourne hospital are denying responsibility for a failed diagnoses which led to the death of a patient.
Radiologists Dr Richard John Fleming and Dr Michael Robert Martin claim they were never told to look for the heart condition that killed a Melbourne father in March 2005.
Another Cabrini Hospital radiologist looking at the same scans the next day was able to diagnose the problem as a dissecting aorta - but by then the South Caulfield father was dead.
Fighting allegations of unprofessional conduct at the Medical Practitioners Board yesterday, the radiologists blamed the emergency department doctor who ordered the CT scans, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Paul Halley, for Dr Fleming and Dr Martin, said that when the CT scans were ordered the treating emergency doctor, Michael Plunkett, never told the radiologists they were supposed to be looking specifically for aortic dissection.
Under cross-examination by Mr Halley, Dr Plunkett told the board he had discussed his diagnosis with Dr Fleming when ordering the tests.
Since he was leaving the hospital at 8pm and the test results were not yet in, Dr Fleming handed the case over to on-call radiologist Dr Martin, and briefed him.
When the scans were complete, they were emailed to Dr Martin to view on his home computer.After he analysed the scan, he called the hospital and told Dr Plunkett that he could not find anything wrong.
Dr Plunkett told the board that though he had also seen the scans, he was not trained to analyse CT scans and had taken Dr Martin's word. He said it was the duty for the radiologist to give analysis of the CT scans.
He did not realise that when Dr Fleming handed over the case, Dr Martin had not specifically been told to look for a dissected aorta.
Though the radiologists claim they were not briefed about the need to look specifically for aortic dissection, the referral slip for the scans, which was not available to Dr Martin at home, states they were being ordered for a possible dissection.
The next day, when another radiologist was able to view the scans in hard copy together with the referral slip, the diagnosis was made.
The hearing continues.