The beneficial use of radiation in medical diagnostic testing (such as x-rays) and medical treatment of certain diseases and conditions (such as various forms and types of cancer) has helped many patients receive the best available medical care and treatment. However, the medical equipment that use radiation sources must be maintained and calibrated as recommended by the equipment manufacturers and according to nationally-recognized standards, and the operators of the equipment must be properly trained.
The medical equipment that use radiation must also be properly calibrated for each patient and each treatment as ordered by the prescribing medical provider and pursuant to established protocols. Malfunctioning or improperly adjusted medical equipment, or improperly protected patients, may result in serious injuries or death to those exposed to too much radiation or to radiation to unintended body areas. Just like a bell that cannot be un-rung, once radiation is released into a patient, the potential damage to tissues, organs, and cells has already begun and may not manifest in injury or obvious damage until later in life.
In March, 2003, a 60-year-old woman began radiation treatment at a Chicago-area hospital for Stage III endometrial cancer. According to a medical malpractice claim filed on behalf of the woman’s surviving husband and two adult children, the woman received fifty percent more radiation than prescribed for her during the course of seventeen radiation treatments. The medical malpractice claim alleged that the excess radiation caused her to develop a perforated bowel that caused her to become septic and led to her death in May, 2004. The medical malpractice case settled for $7.5 million.
Overuse of medical radiation is not a recent problem. Three years ago, there was an investigation into the alleged over-radiation of premature babies at a New York hospital. Even after the investigation, problems of over-radiation allegedly continued.
In another case of alleged misuse of radiation in medical treatment, a breast cancer patient was over-radiated for 27 days in a row and died after developing a large radiation burn.
It was reported in 2009 that more than 300 patients at a large, well-known Los Angeles hospital were subjected to over-radiation in CT scanners (about 260 of the patients received eight times the normal dose of radiation). The problem continued for 18 months until it was recognized that patients suffered patterns of hair loss indicative of the problem.
The overuse of x-rays in dental offices, especially in children, is also a concern.
If you suspect or know that you have received more radiation during medical diagnostic testing or medical treatment than you should have received, you may be entitled to medical monitoring and/or monetary compensation. The prompt advice of a medical malpractice attorney is essential to protect your rights.
Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to help you file a medical malpractice claim for your injuries, or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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