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Boston Medical Malpractice?: CT Brain Perfusion Scans Can Cause Radiation Overdose

According to the New York Times, more radiation overdoses have occurred from CT brain perfusion scans than what was originally thought. More than 400 patients in the US have reportedly experienced higher radiation doses from the scans-although the FDA says that this number may be lower than the actual number of overdose cases. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration began an inquiry into why some patients that underwent the scan, which tests for stroke, experienced radiation overdose. GE Healthcare is the company that supplies the scanners.

CT brain perfusion scans are designed to deliver radiation doses equal to about 200 skull X-rays. Yet some patients reportedly received up to 13 times that radiation amount.

While the FDA has yet to release any official findings, the New York Times says that not only are the overdoses larger than what was originally determined, but some patients are experiencing much more serious side effects than hair loss, including confusion, headaches, memory loss, and a possibly higher risk of developing cancer or brain damage.

Despite these symptoms, some hospitals and doctors reportedly failed to detect that patients had experienced radiation overdose. Even after the FDA put out a national alert asking that hospitals check the tests’ radiation output, some hospitals kept overdosing patients for weeks or months.

Causes of the radiation overdoses have included improper test administration by physicians, which can be grounds for a medical malpractice case, and possible product defect issues, such as design deficiencies and failure to provide the proper training for how to use the medical devices.

After Stroke Scans, Patients Face Serious Health Risks, The New York Times, July 31, 2010
FDA Investigates Radiation Overdose At Hospitals, NPR, December 15, 2009

Related Web Resources:
FDA

Medical Malpractice, Nolo
Boston Radiation Overdose Lawyers
If you believe that you suffer issues because you were exposed to excessive levels of radiation for medical reasons, you may have grounds for a Boston medical malpractice case. If your overdose occurred because the medical device was poorly designed, malfunctioned in some way, or is dangerous for a patient’s health you may have grounds for a Boston products liability case against the defective medical device manufacturer.