(Over)Radiation Therapy?

Posted By John Coletti || 14-Oct-2009

It’s bad enough to have to go through radiation, but to have excessive amounts of radiation zapped into you? Well, that’s what happened at Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for EIGHTEEN months. The hospital discovered that the resetting of a CT scan machine in February 2008 was responsible for radiation overdoses. Specifically, patients undergoing CT brain perfusion scans (usually potential stroke victims) received eight times the standard amount of radiation.

The medical center was made aware there was a problem when a patient reported losing hair following a scan. The hospital then contacted the 206 patients who had undergone the bran scans during the 18 months in question. About 40 percent of the patients experienced some hair loss, and many suffered from skin reddening.

The machinery was in normal working order, but Cedars-Sinai had reprogrammed the CT scanner to accommodate a new protocol for the specialized CT brain perfusion scan. Overriding the pre-programmed scanner caused the radiation error. Upon learning of the error, the Food and Drug Administration sent out a nationwide warning to hospitals to take safety measures and check their CT scanner protocols.