Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Inexcusable!

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I heard on the news today that patients received 8 times the radiation dose while getting brain CTs at Cedars-Sinai hospital in California. EIGHT times!!

206 patients and 40% had patches of hair fall out because of overexposure to radiation and this went on undetected for 18 months.

"The magnitude of these overdoses and their impact on the affected patients were significant," the alert states. "This situation may reflect more widespread problems with CT quality assurance programs and may not be isolated to this particular facility or this imaging procedure."

I've had some concern about all the radiological procedures I've had ... but this would be freaking me out for sure.

I feel so sorry for those people!

As a patient... we put so much trust in every medical person we meet.. that they do know what they are doing ... that they are doing their best for your well being. It's not like if you go to a facility and ask them about the safety of their equipment that you can really know they are right.

It would never have occurred to me that something like this would happen. I just assumed they all know what they are doing and have protocols in place to assure quality and safety in care in all areas of the system.

Gosh... I can still be so naive! I just want to believe the good things. But when humans are involved... mistakes happen... but this case... this case is egregious!

I don't know if medical people would agree with me and my opinion is based on my own experiences... but I think physicians should inform their patients of risks involved in getting CTs. I know that could be a potential problem to cause unnecessary fear... particularly when the medical condition dictates that a CT (and other radiologic procedures) are needed for an accurate diagnosis. Some people might then be too afraid to follow through with a necessary test.

If I had known.. I would never have sought my 2nd abd CT ... when the DR wasn't concerned about a particular dx and neither was the radiologist. If the risks had been explained to me.. I would've let it go. Oh.. and there wasn't anything wrong.. thank God!

I could've avoided a couple more CTs too.

I also think that medical staff should have a way to view a patient's radiology history. I guess this is where a universal EMR system would come in handy.

As far as I go... my exposure was nothing like these poor people got. I didn't even know there was concern about over exposure to radiation from CTs until I read about it in the med blogs and I am so glad I did. Now that I am informed... I know to speak up and ask questions. And the rest... I have given to God.

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