Friday, October 16, 2009

Hospital mistake exposes hundreds of patients to dangerous radiation levels

Ways to get people not to come back to your hospital: expose them to dangerous levels of radiation. Yay American Healthcare!

According to hospital officials, the error responsible for subjecting patients to eight times the recommended dose of radiation occurred in February of last year. The Los Angeles Times reports that, at the time, the hospital
believed using a new protocol for a specialized type of scan used to diagnose strokes would provide them with more useful data. However, this called for the machine to be re-programmed so they could  override the pre-programmed instructions that came with the scanner when it was installed.

As a result of the hospital's fiddling, patients receiving CT brain perfusion scans were subjected to extremely high doses of radiation, which in some cases, resulted in radiation poisoning. The mistake was only noticed when one stroke patient reported that he had begun to lose his hair following a scan. Upon discovering their mistake, the hospital contacted 206 patients who had received overdoses and found that 40 percent of them had experienced either patchy hair loss or reddening of the skin as a result.

I won't fiddle around with the settings on my microwave much less a CT scanner. When effects of a potential screw up could be (and were) felt by hundreds of people, maybe you should look at things a little closer? Just a thought.

So do they get a lifetime free food card to the hospital cafeteria or something?

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