Patients not only have their health to worry about, but they also have to concern themselves with the medical devices that are used to diagnose and treat their ailments. According to an Latimes.com report, the well publicized CT Scan malfunction which resulted in accidental radiation overdosing to patients could be a national dilemma.The FDA found that a 3rd L.A area hospital, Providence St. Joseph, has overdosed 34 patients over a 20 month interval. The patients, who had gone to the hospital to have a brain scan performed, were found to have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.
The CT Scan, which scans those who have suffered a stroke, aids hospital officials in determining how much damage has been done to the brain. Another issue that raises concerns for FDA officials and the public is that the problem with the first two hospitals involved scanners from GE, but the scanner in the third hospital is manufactured by Toshiba. A doctor who is the acting director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said, “Given the fact that we are dealing with two manufacturers and multiple institutions, we wouldn’t be surprised if there are more problems at other institutions”.
Hospitals throughout the country have been directed by the FDA to review radiation dosing guidelines when a CT perfusion scan will be performed. This means that CT technologists must be trained to check the display on the scanner prior to the scan. According to the FDA, an estimated 150,000 CT brain perfusion scans are carried out yearly throughout the country. It is of the utmost importance for all the machines to be checked properly and hospital personnel must be accurately trained to operate them as soon as possible. The FDA is continuing their investigation as to whether the overdoses are a result of human error, defective machines, or both.