Rad Scare

AdvanceWeb.com | October 15 – Headlines regarding excessive patient exposure have raised new questions regarding radiation’s use in medicine. Here’s how you can reduce errors.

On Jan. 23, the radiotherapy community awoke to startling headlines–the first in a series from The New York Times dealing with errors in radiation therapy. This isn’t the first time such articles have seen publication. In 1992, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a series that caught the attention of radiation therapy professionals, but not to the degree of the Times pieces. In response, Congress held hearings on the use of radiation in medicine–hearings involving me, other physicists and physicians, therapists and patients. Months after those hearings, the question remains: Were the incidents reported in the Times sensationalized–or was their reporting long overdue?

In June, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) held a symposium to educate the radiotherapy community on how to deal with issues raised by the Times articles, along with questions from Congress. But rather than approach the problem from a “Here’s where we are and what we could do” standpoint, our community should tackle the problems head-on by addressing four main areas: manufacturing, staffing, competency and error reporting.

Read more on AdvanceWeb.com.

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