Improper CT scans pose a risk: report

Radiation overdose examined in two cases

Americans receive more diagnostic radiation than ever, the New York Times reports, yet two California cases suggest there are risks involved when CT scans are incorrectly used. One week ago, LA’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said it had mistakenly administered up to eight times the normal radiation dose to 206 possible stroke patients over an 18-month period, during a procedure meant to take images of the brain. The case is under investigation. Meanwhile, in Arcata, CA, a 2-year-old boy complaining of neck pain after falling off his bed was subjected to over an hour of CT scans, a process that usually takes about three minutes. In what the hospital radiation manager called “a rogue act of insanity,” X-ray technologist Raven Knickerbocker activated the scan 151 times on the same area, according to state investigator, in a test that normally involves 25 images. The child showed a line on his face “consistent with the anatomical region that received the excessive radiation,” state investigators said. Knickerbocker was fired, but is contesting the state’s revocation of her license. She suspects the machine malfunctioned.

The New York Times

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