Sunday, January 24, 2010

Irradiated. Again.

This New York Times article profiles two cases, at two different hospitals, of patients being exposed to large, unsafe doses radiation while administering CT scans. According to the NY Times, "Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles disclosed that it had mistakenly administered up to eight times the normal radiation dose to 206 possible stroke victims over an 18-month period during a procedure intended to get clearer images of the brain."

Click the above link to get the full story from the NY Times.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I just finished reading this New York Times piece which brings attention to the many radiation therapy errors that have occurred in New York state, as well as several other states, over the past decade. The mistakes seem occur despite, and maybe even partly because of, more advanced and complicated software. Though, the word "negligence" never appeared in the article, the errors in the patient treatment plans could have been caught if the radiation therapist teams had been more vigilant, tested their equipment before use, and more closely monitored the information on their computer screens, before or during the course of treatment. Some of the deadly doses of radiation administered in New York hospitals were given just weeks after the state had sent letters to the hospitals reminding them that, "Staffing levels should be evaluated carefully by each registrant to ensure that coverage is sufficient to prevent the occurrence of treatment errors and misadministrations."

Here are just two examples among many that illustrate the severity of radiation errors: In June, The Times reported that a Philadelphia hospital gave the wrong radiation dose to more than 90 patients with prostate cancer — and then kept quiet about it.In 2005, a Florida hospital disclosed that 77 brain cancer patients had received 50 percent more radiation than prescribed because one of the most powerful — and supposedly precise — linear accelerators had been programmed incorrectly for nearly a year."