Cedars-Sinai Radiation Mistake Could Cause Long Term Injury

November 7, 2009 – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the renowned Los Angeles hospital, has recently disclosed that 206 patients had received radiation overdoses over an 18 month period in 2008 and 2009. The overdoses occurred while radiologists were administering CT brain perfusion scans, a procedure used to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of strokes. Cedars Sinai Logo.gif

Apparently in February 2008 Cedars-Sinai radiologists overrode the default settings on a CT scanner used for the brain scans, hoping to obtain clearer data. Due to the changed settings, patients received doses up to 8 times the normal dose of 0.5 Gray for a brain perfusion scan. A Gray is a measured unit of emitted radiation.

The overdoses went undetected until August 2009 when a patient contacted the hospital to report patchy hair loss. No other patient had previously reported any symptoms from the exposure. According to the Food and Drug Administration, because the problem went undetected for so long, patients may be at an increased risk of long term effects from radiation exposure.

G. Donald Frey, PhD, a medical physicist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, has estimated that the Cedars-Sinai patients have a 1% greater risk of radiation induced cancer. He also predicted that minor skin injuries might have occurred, but there was likely no major injury to the brain.

His comments can be heard in the following audio link: 

 

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Another physician, James Slater MD, of  New York University’s Lagone Medical Center, expressed shock at the revelations. He estimates that the affected patients likely received “their maximum allowable radiation exposure for the entire year in that single test.”

According to the American Cancer Society website, “Radiation therapy to large areas of the brain can sometimes cause changes in brain function that can lead to memory loss, lower sexual desire, or poor tolerance for cold weather. Nausea, unsteady walking, and changes in vision may also be noticed.” 

However, the website indicates that there are other more serious possibilities, including radiation necrosis, which can form at the site of the radiation in the brain, often months to years after radiation is given. Death is one possible outcome of such exposure.

The situation at Cedar-Sinai has caused hospitals across the country to review CT scan procedures, re-inspect their CT scanners and take other precautions aimed at avoiding a repitition of this potentially harmful error.

Source: Medpagetoday.com

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If you received a CT brain perfusion scan at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at any time between February 2008 and August 2009, it is likley you were exposed to excess radiation. The Law Offices of Keith L. Miller, and its affiliates, is interested to discuss your situation and possible representation in a legal action against responsible parties. If an action were warranted, we would take your case on a contingent fee basis, which means that you would not have to pay anything out of pocket for your legal representation. The firm will take a fee only if we are successful in recovering damages on your behalf.

If you would like a free initial consultation, please contact this office by calling (617) 523-5803, or Click Here to send a confidential email.