Meck. Co. Health Dept. apologizes after failing to notify women of abnormal test results

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The Mecklenburg County Health Department said it failed to notify nearly 200 women about abnormal test results from cervical cancer screenings about eight months ago.

During a press conference Wednesday morning, health director for Mecklenburg County Marcus Plescia apologized for the failure stating that a number of actions have taken place to resolve the issue.

"I'm embarrassed that this happened under my watch," he said. "All of our personnel are committed to resolving this issue."

Of the 185 patients, 110 of those had abnormal pap smears, according to the health department. Notifications have been sent out. Health officials said 75 patients have "mild to moderate" issues and need to have a colposcopy. They are still working to track down 20 women. They have reached out but if they don't hear back plan on going home to home to make sure these women know of the results.

The discovery was made when of the county's doctors realized no one had followed up with a particular patient. Then further investigation revealed a slew of other patients were also affected.

The department claims one nurse was in charge of notifying patients but Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake isn't buying it.

"We need to hold people who are here accountable. How many people under this supervisor? How many people saw those records and never paid attention to them," Leake said.

"There were also people that should have been supervising that person so I don't think it’s easy to point the finger at one person. I think this is a multi-level issues," Dr. Plescia said.

Plescia said that four people are no longer with the clinical division as a result of the issue but wouldn't confirm if they were fired.

The Health Department does not believe that any of the people whose results were delayed are in imminent danger. Plescia said the department is performing a review of procedure with the county's Internal Audit and will be bringing in national consultants they have worked with before to see what they can do better.