One woman was told her unborn baby was not growing properly while two others were told they had miscarried - the diagnosis was wrong for all three.

Now there are calls for better checks and balances among sonographers and radiologists performing ultrasounds on pregnant women.

Yesterday, the Health and Disability Commissioner criticised the care given to a pregnant woman who was moments away from having a procedure to remove an apparently miscarried baby when she requested a final scan which showed her baby was alive and growing.

The sonographer determined she had miscarried and failed to offer her a different type of scan to confirm that. A radiologist didn't question the lack of a second scan.


Today, others have come forward with similar stories of medical staff getting it wrong based on ultrasounds.

Almost six year ago Sunny Lakhiyan came home to find his wife Preity distraught.

She was in her second trimester and had been for a routine ultrasound but had been told the baby's spine had not grown enough and the baby was likely to be deformed. She was told she should talk to her midwife and consider whether to terminate the pregnancy, he said.

She was so upset she did not remember crossing main roads on her way home but did not want to worry her husband at work.

The next day Lakhiyan took his wife to a different clinic for a second opinion and was told there did not appear to be any issue with the baby.

Their son Davie turned 5 earlier this year and was a happy, healthy child who was taller than most of his peers, he said.

But the incorrect diagnosis had remained at the back of the couple's minds meaning they did not relax until he turned 1 without any signs of a problem.

Lakhiyan said the results of scans needed to be checked by someone else and, in the event things did not look right, other tests should be done.

He worked in the technology sector and he and his colleagues would always get a peer review done before going back to the client.

"Nobody's dying [in my work], it's not life and death. I'm appalled there is no peer review in the medical industry."

Another woman who contacted the Herald with her story was told she had miscarried and had two procedures to remove foetal tissue still in the uterus.

An ultrasound performed after the second one showed a heartbeat and a viable pregnancy - a month after she was told she miscarried.

She chose to terminate the pregnancy because of uncertainty around what damage had been done by the procedures and now "lives with regret".

Medical Radiation Technologists Board registrar Mary Doyle said procedures and protocols were set out by the companies which employed radiation technologists but all practitioners had to demonstrate their competence in order to be registered with the board.

She said all practitioners needed to be able to recognise normal and abnormal imaging and recognise the need for further sources of input. The final decision on clinical appropriateness always lay with the clinical radiologist, consultant specialist or radiation oncologist, she said.