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Walter Reed failed to examine nearly 2K dental CT scans, investigation finds

Radiologists at Bethesda, Md.-based Walter Reed National Military Medical Center failed to read and diagnose nearly 2,000 dental scans, according to an internal investigation cited by The Wall Street Journal.

The investigation found there was no malicious intent, and no one was punished for the unread scans.

Faulty processes, oversight by physicians, technical problems and an overworked radiologist caused the backlog of 1,300 cone beam computed tomography scans of patients' faces and jaws between 2011 and 2016. The scans were taken at the Navy's postgraduate dental school.

A similar issue occurred in 2018, when 500 cases went unread. In this instance, one patient received delays in treatment. After patients undergo scans, a dentist or physician often immediately reviews them. Military regulations require all scans by examined by a radiologist.

"The investigation determined that the CBCT backlog did not result in adverse outcomes for patients and made several recommendations to improve procedures," Ed Gulick, a spokesman for Navy Medicine, told WSJ. "The backlog of CBCT scans has been cleared, and the investigation's recommendations are currently being implanted by the Naval Postgraduate Dental School."

The investigation was sparked after Laura Ike, DDS, couldn't find the results of a patients' CBCT scan. When she checked the entire system, she found 1,300 scans had gone unread.

To read the full WSJ report, click here.

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