A NEW Lodge woman who was prescribed the wrong treatments under Dr Michael Watt says more scandals are inevitable in the Belfast Trust if there is not "systemic change".
Danielle O’Neill (39) was wrongly diagnosed by Dr Watt with epilepsy, spontaneous enterocutaneous hypertension and another rare disease in which the individual’s thyroid attacks the neurons in their brain.
She received unnecessary treatment, including a horrific epidural blood patch, which involved extracting blood from her arm and injecting it into her spine.
On Tuesday, an inquiry found the Belfast Trust failed to intervene quickly enough in the practice of Dr Watt.
More than 5,000 former patients of neurologist Michael Watt were invited to have their cases examined for possible misdiagnoses, in what is the largest ever patient recall in the North.
Key conclusions of the inquiry include that the Belfast Trust should have intervened earlier, but failed to do so. It found systems and processes in place to assure the public about patient safety prior to November 2016 failed.
It discovered the effect of numerous failures ensured problems were missed for many years and opportunities to intervene were lost
Speaking to the North Belfast News, Danielle said: "It has been a hard and a very long day.
"It is a very hard hitting and critical report into the Belfast Trust and their lack of systems and governance.
Danielle O’Neill, a former patient of Dr Michael Watt, says she and the other patients were failed. pic.twitter.com/WmOq1LvgkN— Rebecca Black (@RBlackPA) June 21, 2022
"This is the only the beginning of the whole healing process for patients. The proof will be in the pudding in whether the Health Minister will implement all 76 recommendations made by the inquiry panel.
"We have no trust in the Belfast Trust. They have failed us, let us down badly and effectively put us in harm’s way.
"Until there is systemic change, there will be other scandals in that Trust. There needs to be a complete overhaul."
Belfast Trust welcomed the publication of the report of the Independent Neurology Inquiry.
Chief Executive, Dr Cathy Jack, speaking directly to the patients of Dr Watt and their families, said: “The Belfast Trust let you down and many of you have suffered avoidable and unnecessary harm as a result.
"Whether that was through being given a diagnosis that was not correct, receiving incorrect treatment or medication, or having a procedure you did not need.
"For that I am truly sorry. That is not what the Belfast Trust wants for its hundreds of thousands of patients, cared for in a wide variety of ways by a dedicated staff.
"It is why that I, and my executive team, are determined to continue to work to improve the governance systems that we have in place to reduce, as far as we possibly can, the risk of something like this happening again.”