We are most vulnerable during illness, and as such we put a tremendous amount of trust into the physicians whom we seek care from. And while it is the physician’s duty to perform their job with the utmost in care and professionalism, these doctors can only be as accurate and safe as the tools they use on a daily basis. While many people associate medical malpractice with human error, defective medical devices can also play a significant factor, with product liability issues further complicating the malpractice issue.
On October 8, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a notification to hospitals, CT scan facilities and medical professionals encouraging every facility performing CT imaging to review its CT protocols and be aware of the dose indices normally displayed on the control panel. The notification was prompted by the report of radiation overexposures during CT scans at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. During those overexposure instances, patients receiving CT Scans were exposed to eight times the normal dose of radiation, many of them reporting hair loss following the scans.
CT Scanners (by GE Healthcare Technologies)
Computerized axial tomography scan machines, commonly known as CAT scans (and sometimes abbreviated even further to “CT scans”), are one such device that can lead to severe illness and death if it is not properly handled and calibrated. CAT scans work by producing three-dimensional images of the inside of the human body by using X-rays taken from different viewpoints surrounding the human body. That is, by taking individual X-rays from different vantage points, a three-dimensional composite is created that can show the insides of the human body in a more accurate manner.
During the X-ray process, the individual undergoing the exam is exposed to radiation, which, if emitted from a properly calibrated machine, is not terribly harmful to the human body. While the amount of radiation emitted during CAT scans typically ranges anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 millirems, instances have been recorded where individuals have been exposed to as much as eight times the typical amount of radiation released during a typical CAT scan, particularly those scans used to diagnose strokes. Exposure to such high levels of radiation can greatly increase an individual’s chances of developing cancer.
One specific CAT scan device that has been deemed responsible for such increased levels of radiation exposure is manufactured by GE Healthcare, Inc. and GE Healthcare Technologies. These devices allegedly expose individuals to higher levels of radiation than is standard, and as such increase the individual’s susceptibility to cancer and other detrimental effects that are caused by radiation poisoning. Radiation poisoning damages organ tissue, which in and of itself can lead to organ failure, not to mention the increased likelihood that an individual will become afflicted with cancer, tumors, or other genetic disorders as the result of severe radiation exposure.
Defective Medical Device Attorneys
While the CT Scanners from GE have not been labeled as “defective” devices as of the time of this publication, a variety of other medical devices have been known to fail and have been deemed defective by the FDA and/or their manufacturers. For example, certain brands of pacemakers have been recalled, particularly since the devices have been proven to fail at monitoring heart rate, putting the individual dependent on the pacemaker at serious risk. The same can be said of MPRs (Manual Pulmonary Resuscitators), with numerous instances having been reported of the devices failing to generate enough power to sustain their successful operation in helping an individual breathe. Some medical devices have even been known to fail and put individuals at severe risk of serious injury and death simply because their power cords have a propensity to overheat, spark, and ultimately lead to fires. In any event, medical devices can fail for a variety of reasons, including device malfunction, improper use of the medical device, or improper calibration of the medical device.
Panish Shea & Boyle, LLP continues to monitor the situation with improperly calibrated and potentially defective GE CT scan machines and represents clients that have suffered from GE CT Scan radiation exposure in Los Angeles, have sustained injury due to product liability, and has experience litigating cases pertaining to pharmaceutical litigation. If you believe that you have been the victim of radiation poisoning due to an improperly calibrated CAT scan machine, don’t hesitate to contact our defective medical device attorneys as soon as possible. Our skilled attorneys will examine the details of your injury claim, and will hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. Please call us at 1-877-800-1700 for more information about defective CAT scanners and the damage they may cause unsuspecting patients.
CT Scan Radiation Exposure Cases In The News
Cedars-Sinai head expresses regret for radiation overdoses
October 16, 2009 By Alan Zarembo (LATIMES.COM) – The hospital’s chief executive, Thomas M. Priselac, details reforms made after 206 patients were subjected to overdoses caused by erroneous settings on a CT scanner.
Cedars-Sinai radiation overdoses went unseen at several points
October 14, 2009 By Alan Zarembo (LATIMES.COM) – The dosage — eight times the programmed amount — appeared on technicians’ screens during CT scans. Doctors also missed the problem. Experts say blind trust of medical machinery is a growing concern.
Radiation Overdoses Point Up Dangers of CT Scans
October 15, 2009 By WALT BOGDANICH (NYTIMES.COM) – At a time when Americans receive far more diagnostic radiation than ever before, two cases under scrutiny in California – one involving a large, well-known Los Angeles hospital, the other a tiny hospital in the northern part of the state – underscore the risks that powerful CT scans pose when used incorrectly.