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After Stroke Scans, Patients Face Serious Health Risks
NY Times ^ | July 31, 2010 | WALT BOGDANICH

Posted on 08/01/2010 5:18:58 PM PDT by neverdem

When Alain Reyes’s 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...

--snip--

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.

--snip--

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 there’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: doctor; doctors; health; healthcarerationing; hospital; hospitals; lab; labs; labtest; labtesting; labtests; malpractice; medicallab; medicaltest; medicaltesting; medicaltests; medicine; obamacare; radiation; radiology; rationing; scans; stroke; strokes; strokescans; stroketest

1 posted on 08/01/2010 5:19:03 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

” 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.....


2 posted on 08/01/2010 5:28:15 PM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: neverdem

And people always wonder why I avoid doctors like the plague.


3 posted on 08/01/2010 5:31:08 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!)
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To: neverdem
I don't understand why medical equipment manufacturing companies spend millions on all kinds of largely useless idiot-proof labelling outside of their machines and manuals, but won't make the effort to implement simple, redundant interlock fail-safes to prevent radiation and other hazardous overdoses.

This peculiar problem is not limited to the medical equipment industry alone. I've seen the same problem with industrial equipment, as well.

4 posted on 08/01/2010 5:33:18 PM PDT by James C. Bennett
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To: EggsAckley

“plague”

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.


5 posted on 08/01/2010 5:33:42 PM PDT by CodeToad ("Idiocracy" is not just a movie.)
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To: James C. Bennett

We need to see the: “ARE YOU SURE?” prompt when outside a normal dosage.


6 posted on 08/01/2010 5:34:40 PM PDT by George from New England (Escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: George from New England

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.


7 posted on 08/01/2010 5:40:05 PM PDT by James C. Bennett
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To: George from New England
Followed with an "ARE YOU REALLY SURE???" prompt.
8 posted on 08/01/2010 5:44:39 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 554 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: CodeToad

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.


9 posted on 08/01/2010 5:47:28 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!)
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To: James C. Bennett

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.


10 posted on 08/01/2010 5:50:31 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: EggsAckley

“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.


11 posted on 08/01/2010 5:57:56 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: neverdem
The Therac-25 lives!
12 posted on 08/01/2010 6:06:02 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Over the years, I have read a great deal on a series of deadly malfunctions on one particular model of radiation machine: The Therac25.

A cautionary tale for anyone designing computer-controlled stuff.

13 posted on 08/01/2010 6:32:23 PM PDT by Erasmus (Personal goal: Have a bigger carbon footprint than Tony Robbins.)
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To: EggsAckley

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.”


14 posted on 08/01/2010 6:35:13 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: luckystarmom

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.


15 posted on 08/01/2010 6:52:16 PM PDT by claymax ("Man is not free unless Government is limited" Ronald Reagan)
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To: neverdem
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.

The threat of being sued is why doctors order so many tests.

16 posted on 08/01/2010 6:58:13 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Politicians exist to break windows so they may spend other people's money to fix them.)
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To: DuncanWaring
Yes, but this is diagnostic imaging, not radiation therapy which is normally used to treat cancer.

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.

17 posted on 08/01/2010 7:01:14 PM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: Sooth2222

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?


18 posted on 08/01/2010 7:45:18 PM PDT by givemELL (Does Taiwan eet the Criteria to Qualify as an "Overseas Territory of the United States"? by Richar)
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To: givemELL
Skin erythema dose (′skin ′er·ə′thē·mə ′dōs)

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.

19 posted on 08/01/2010 8:12:17 PM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: neverdem
“These tests have really high doses,” she said. “And there’s no system for figuring out who is getting them and why they are getting them.”

The doctors are going for higher resolution - at the expense of the patient. They can just friggin' lower the dose...

20 posted on 08/01/2010 8:14:10 PM PDT by GOPJ (Asked for ZIP? Give 82224 - Lost Springs,Wy - most sparsely populated in country. Freeper:SamAdams)
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To: The Antiyuppie; Paved Paradise

Thank you both for your validation of my beliefs.

Cheers!


21 posted on 08/01/2010 8:18:11 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!)
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To: Uncle Ike

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.


22 posted on 08/01/2010 8:34:21 PM PDT by Ouderkirk (Democrats...the party of Slavery, Segregation, Sodomy, and Sedition)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: claymax

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
Abdomen dose.

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
brain.

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


25 posted on 08/01/2010 8:45:29 PM PDT by nvscanman
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To: nvscanman

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.


26 posted on 08/01/2010 9:04:39 PM PDT by claymax ("Man is not free unless Government is limited" Ronald Reagan)
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To: claymax

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.


27 posted on 08/01/2010 9:09:36 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: luckystarmom
I am glad to hear they are doing fine now. It is not at all a problem to be concerned about radiation dose or problems associated with it. But we have to be careful where we get our information. If they were getting cts like 4 times a year for ten years, then there would be a concern, because radiation dose is cumulative. I still question that guy with getting one brain CT and his hair fell out, that is really a disingenuous statement to make form the Slimes
28 posted on 08/01/2010 9:18:38 PM PDT by claymax ("Man is not free unless Government is limited" Ronald Reagan)
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To: James C. Bennett

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.


29 posted on 08/01/2010 9:20:42 PM PDT by ctdonath2 (+)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Critics point to flaws in longevity study

Tooth Regeneration Gel Could Replace Painful Fillings

FDA OKs First Embryonic Stem Cell Research Trial on Humans, Despite Concerns

Stem cells from blood a 'huge' milestone (May prove easier/faster than other harvesting methods)

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

30 posted on 08/02/2010 11:46:00 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: EggsAckley

“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.


31 posted on 08/02/2010 1:54:27 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: CodeToad; EggsAckley

“What you don’t see are the thousands of healthy patients because of doctors for every overdose like this.”

Nonsense!

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)
.


32 posted on 08/02/2010 1:57:56 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: editor-surveyor

Thank you thank you THANK YOU!


33 posted on 08/02/2010 2:49:07 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!)
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To: neverdem

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.


34 posted on 08/03/2010 10:35:33 AM PDT by Born Conservative ("I'm a fan of disruptors" - Nancy Pelosi)
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