More California Hospitals Reporting Overdoses of Radiation From CT Scans
Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and Bakersfield Memorial Hospital are the two latest hospitals to report exposing patients to radiation overdoses during CT brain perfusion scans, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Possible Problems With Scanner
Hospital officials said they had programmed their scanners to manufacturer Toshiba's specifications.
On Monday, Toshiba issued a statement saying that it cannot comment on the matter because of an ongoing FDA investigation.
Local Officials Investigating
Local health officials are unlikely to place all of the blame on Toshiba, according to the Times. Los Angeles County health officials who investigated the County-USC overdoses said that the technologists who administered the tests did not pay attention to dose levels during scans.
Trend of Radiation Overdoses
Last year, the Times reported that 260 patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center received up to eight times the normal radiation from a General Electric scanner over an 18-month period. Other overdoses were discovered at Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Providence St. John Medical Center in Burbank (Zarembo, Los Angeles Times, 8/3).
Nationwide, at least 400 patients at eight hospitals have experienced higher-than-expected levels of radiation from CT brain perfusion scans, according to hospitals, regulators and lawyers, the New York Times reports. California is home to six of the eight hospitals.
Kathleen Kaufman -- head of radiation management for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health -- predicts that the number of patients affected by high radiation levels is far larger and includes additional facilities in other states.
FDA launched an investigation into radiation overdoses after patient reports of symptoms possibly caused by the tests began to emerge. However, FDA has yet to release a final report with its findings (Bogdanich, New York Times, 7/31).
The agency has issued a nationwide alert urging hospitals to check the settings on their scanners. FDA also implemented new safety standards for medical imaging devices and called for more precise dosing standards (Los Angeles Times, 8/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.