Radiation Overdoses and Regulatory Ineptness

When is a radiation overdose not an overdose? When the facility giving the CT scans says so. At least that’s what the Food and Drug Administration concluded when it dropped a safety investigation of the Huntsville, Alabama Hospital.

Now the FDA, which monitors radiation safety for the medical industry, is considering re-starting its investigation, once a New York Times reporting team found that the doses of radiation given to patients at the Huntsville Hospital were 13 times the normal dose for this type of scan, called a CT brain perfusion scan. The scan is used to test patients for stroke.

Even a properly done CT brain perfusion scan delivers about 200 times more radiation to a patient’s head than a skull X-ray.

According to the Times, the hospital claims it used higher doses to get sharper images.

A quotable quote from the article, the latest in a series about medical radiation overdoses:

“It is absolutely shocking and mind-boggling that this facility would say the doses are acceptable,” said Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a radiology professor who has testified before Congress about the need for more controls over CT scans.

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