California is looking to enact a law to protect patients from radiation overdoses from CT scans, which are one of the key tools to detect brain injury.
The state Senate last Friday passed a bill, 24 to 5, which mandates that the dose of radiation released during each scan be recorded on the image from the scan, as well as in the patient’s records. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ctscans-20100529,0,3030576.story
The proposed law aims to prevent recent errors that led to patients at three hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, to receive radiation overdoses.
Now that the bill has been approved by the Senate, it has to be passed by the state Assembly and signed by the governor before it is law.
Cedars-Sinai patient Michael Heuser had radiation overdoses during three different scans last year, according to the Los Angeles Times. I expect he’s looking for a good medical malpractice attorney now.
But Heuser was just one of many who received an overdose. As it turned out, there were more than 260 cases of radiation overdoses during scans at Cedars-Sinai. During one 18-month period, the hospital accidently delivered eight times the proper radiation to people who were getting CT brain perfusion scans, which detect stroke, the Times reported.
The Cedars-Sinai overdoses prompted the Food and Drug Administration to issue a warning that hospitals should check their scanning machines. It turned out that two more hospitals in the Los Angeles area, Glendale Adventist and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, did have problems with their machines, as did an Alabama medical center.
It’s believed the higher levels of radiation were being administered because the machines had been reprogrammed to use new instructions to contol the scans, the Times said.
Republican California lawmakers oppose the new bill, maintaining that regulating the scans and machines should be undertaken by the federal, not state, government.