Skip to comments.After Stroke Scans, Patients Face Serious Health Risks
Posted on 08/01/2010 5:18:58 PM PDT by neverdem
When Alain Reyess hair suddenly fell out in a freakish band circling his head, he was not the only one worried about his health. His co-workers at a shipping company avoided him, and his boss sent him home, fearing he had a contagious disease.
Only later would Mr. Reyes learn what had caused him so much physical and emotional grief: he had received a radiation overdose during a test for a stroke at a hospital in Glendale, Calif.
Other patients getting the procedure, called a CT brain perfusion scan, were being overdosed, too 37 of them just up the freeway at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, 269 more at the renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and dozens more at a hospital in Huntsville, Ala.
The overdoses, which began to emerge late last summer, set off an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration into why patients tested with this complex yet lightly regulated technology were bombarded with excessive...
A blood clot in the brain can be dissolved with medicine, but doctors must do it within several hours, before brain cells die from a lack of oxygen.
For Dr. Smith-Bindman, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, the larger question raised by her review of overdose cases, including one in Huntsville, is whether their symptoms actually required such a powerful test in the first place. She also noted that many of the patients were relatively young.
These tests have really high doses, she said. And theres no system for figuring out who is getting them and why they are getting them.
Reducing mistakes is important, but the bigger challenge, she said, is to eliminate unnecessary testing.
Utilization has increased dramatically, and as a society we have not had the time to respond.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
” Reducing mistakes is important, but the bigger challenge, she said, is to eliminate unnecessary testing. “
Money quote — this, in conjunction with it being from NYT, makes this a fairly subtle Obamacare propaganda piece....
Ya gotta watch ‘em every minute, folks.....
And people always wonder why I avoid doctors like the plague.
This peculiar problem is not limited to the medical equipment industry alone. I've seen the same problem with industrial equipment, as well.
So, if you get the plague you won’t seek a doctor?
What you don’t see are the thousands of healthy patients because of doctors for every overdose like this. Besides, who said the doctor did it? I would expect the story involved a technician/operator, not the doctor.
We need to see the: “ARE YOU SURE?” prompt when outside a normal dosage.
I know it sounds funny, but overdosing radiation is not as uncommon as one thinks it is. I remember reading about several such incidents over the past few years.
I would suggest a big read-out indicating the strength of the radiation, with a proper demarcation of the safe limits.
The “doctor” is the supervisor of the techs. This kind of thing would not happen if the doctor is paying closer attention to his employees.
I saw how unsupervised employees in a hospital literally killed my Dad. I even found him on a cold rainy late afternoon in the ICU, laying in bed with no clothes and no sheets or blankets. He was shivering extremely hard. And I could find no one watching the ICU for at least 20 minutes. When I did find someone, they couldn’t “find” any spare blankets. And this was in a very toney, expensive private hospital. The next day “Nurse Rachet” said it didn’t happen and accused me of being drunk.
They finally “got” him with their own homegrown deadly virus, staph infection.
If you happen to be a doctor or staff member, sorry for the insults. But I’ve seen way too much to trust anyone in the industry.
Articles like this are scary to me. My daughters were very sick when they were 6 weeks old, and they had CT scans (along with tons of other tests).
They are 13 now, and I wonder if there will be some other scary side effect that we are not aware of.
“And people always wonder why I avoid doctors like the plague”
I attribute my good health to a deathly fear of doctors and hospitals. My grandfather died in a hospital from a superbug he caught there during a minor procedure. My grandmother died from a nurse’s misinterpretation of a doctor’s note, leading to a fatal overdose of medicine.
A cautionary tale for anyone designing computer-controlled stuff.
My dad had such a morbid sense of humor. He always said to avoid doctors because “they’ll find a way to kill you one way or the other.”
Your kids will be fine. This is just propaganda from the new york slimes. I am a registered cat scan and mri tech. The one study that might receive high doses is an abdomen and pelvis with attention to the pancreas, and you get more radiation from sun in 3hours. I have been doing this job for 15 years since 1995. I have many of times been in the room with patients, shielded of course, and still have all my hair, no cancer. I would tell that guy to get checked out medically as to why his hair fell out. If it even happened. If you don’t believe me, check out the dosage rate from when we dropped the bombs on Japan, research is out there on radiation exposure.
The threat of being sued is why doctors order so many tests.
I'm just amazed that diagnostic radiology equipment could produce that high a radiation dose. Many of the patients appear to be relatively young. I can imagine the potential liability for the hospitals and manufacturers must be just huge.
A standard, correctly calibrated CAT scan machine is said to deliver radiation equal to 50 chest xrays. If such a machine is not calibrated properly, or operated improperly, who knows what dose might be administered?
A unit of radioactive dose resulting from exposure to electromagnetic radiation, equal to the dose that slightly reddens or browns the skin of 80% of all persons within 3 weeks after exposure; it is approximately 1000 roentgens for gamma rays, 600 roentgens for x-rays. Abbreviated SED.
I read that a CT scan normally delivers about 3-7 roentgens (or centi-Gray units). If patients skin was turning red, and hair was falling out -- this seems a much higher radiation dose than they're letting on.
The doctors are going for higher resolution - at the expense of the patient. They can just friggin' lower the dose...
Thank you both for your validation of my beliefs.
CT scanners give a pretty high dose as it is. The efficacy of such a procedure, clearly outweighs the risk. Tomography reveals things that general radiography simply cannot. THrough the use of contrast agents and some pretty ingenious software gives physicians amazing diagnostic tools.
FWIW CT is a cash cow for most facilities. The cost of the machine is about 1.2M for a good 64 slice scanner, and at 3000 per exam,which is done in about 15 minutes, in and out, you’re talking about $12000 per hour X 18 hours X 251 work days, it generates about $5 1/2 million per year. That doesn’t include weekends and off shift for inpatient. The walkie-talkies are for day/evening, and the inpatients are done on the overnites keeping the scanner working pretty much 24 hours a day. Average exposure is 1.8M milliampere seconds, in 12 months.
The typical dose for a CT Abdomen
is about 10 mSv. The typical dose
for a PA view of the chest is 0.02 mSv.
You would need to be exoposed to some
400 chest images to equal a single CT
To recieve the same 10 mSv dose of radiation
from normal daily background sources requires
some 3.3 years.
Perfusion brain CT exposes the brain to levels
significantly higher than a routine exam of the
Higher image resolution requires higher image
dose. Combine this with poor tech training and a
cavalier attitude towards the amount of radiation
the population recieves because most MD’s don’t
know or care what dosages are and dangerous levels
of exposure are to be expected.
As for my bonafides.....I have a university degree in
Radiologic Technology with certification in CT. I
was the director of the CT department at one of the
hospitals mentioned in the article....in 1983.
Utilization of CT has only increased since then and
concerns ( or lack thereof) about radiation from ordering physicians has not changed.
has not improve
What you said about msV is absolutely correct but it is a little more technical than that because you know radiation dose also has to do with patient size, what mA and kvp you use. My point is the risk of low level radiation is still unknown. But people still get cancer without even having an xray or ct. I am firm believer in the acronym alara and practice it as it was my faith, but remember needing to make an diagnosis out weigh the risk that radiation brings.
It was also a life and death situation. One of my daughters was having seizures. They are both alive today. It could have been different.
I’ve seen why. Some idiot in management decides it is easier for his career to put “don’t do that” in the user’s manual than to make it impossible for the user to do that.
And the FDA accepts it as a job well done.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
“And people always wonder why I avoid doctors like the plague.”
I don’t wonder, I do the same. 90% of MDs haven’t a clue what they’re doing but will do it as though given a mission from God.
For strokes, there is a proven therapy that has zero medical hazard, and has been known for almost a century to be effective: Hyperbaric Oxygen.
No other therapy compares, both for safety, and for effectiveness.
“What you dont see are the thousands of healthy patients because of doctors for every overdose like this.”
Most of the people that go to MDs are being killed systematically with “medications” for diseasses that they don’t even have, or in many cases don’t even exist. (high BP, high colestrol)
Thank you thank you THANK YOU!
There is a big push at our facility to decrease the use of CT scans due to the amount of radiation. A typical CT has as much radiation as 500 chest x-rays.