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.