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Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens 

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:39 PM
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Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

The initial accident report offered few details, except to say that an unidentified hospital had administered radiation overdoses to three patients during identical medical procedures.

It was not until many months later that the full import of what had happened in the hospital last year began to surface in urgent nationwide warnings, which advised doctors to be extra vigilant when using a particular device that delivers high-intensity, pinpoint radiation to vulnerable parts of the body.

Marci Faber was one of the three patients. She had gone to Evanston Hospital in Illinois seeking treatment for pain emanating from a nerve deep inside her head. Today, she is in a nursing home, nearly comatose, unable to speak, eat or walk, leaving her husband to care for their three young daughters.

Two other patients were overdosed before the hospital realized that the device, a linear accelerator, had inexplicably allowed radiation to spill outside a heavy metal cone attachment that was supposed to channel the beam to a specific spot in the brain. One month later, the same accident happened at another hospital.

The treatment Ms. Faber received, stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS, is one of the fastest-growing radiation therapies, a technological innovation designed to target tiny tumors and other anomalies affecting the brain or spinal cord, while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

Because the radiation is so concentrated and intense, accuracy is especially important. Yet, according to records and interviews, the SRS unit at Evanston lacked certain safety features, including those that might have prevented radiation from leaking outside the cone.

The mistakes in Evanston involve linear accelerators — commonly used for standard radiation therapy — that were redesigned by the manufacturer, Varian Medical Systems, so they could also perform SRS. As the devices became more versatile and complex, problems arose when vital electronic components could not communicate with one another.

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:41 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

User errors coupled with possible safety flaws
In the last five years, SRS systems made by Varian and its frequent German partner, Brainlab, have figured in scores of errors and overdoses, The New York Times has found. Some mistakes were caused by operator error. In Missouri, for example, 76 patients were overradiated because a medical physicist did not realize that the smaller radiation beam used in radiosurgery had to be calibrated differently than the larger beam used for more traditional rad therapy

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:48 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens



Terri Anderson was given too much radiation last year while being treated for a benign tumor. She now suffers facial spasms, memory issues and trouble with her balance. She's shown before treatment (top photo) and after (lower photo)

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:55 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

Well shit.

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Old 12-29-2010, 05:05 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

They've identified the problem, a recall or fix kit is already out I would guess.

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Old 12-29-2010, 05:25 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

I would surely hope so. They can't possibly be letting that continue, can they?

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Old 12-29-2010, 05:29 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

Not a chance, they'll do a recall or engineers will be dispatched with a fix...crikey they do it with cars...medical equipment of that nature will get more attention...and thats a cert!

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Old 12-29-2010, 09:18 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

Screw you Microsoft

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Old 12-29-2010, 10:58 PM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

Holy shit is that tentacles growing out of their armpits?

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Old 12-30-2010, 01:00 AM
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Re: Stray Radiation Beam Injures Dozens

I see class-action lawsuit in near future.

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