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View Full Version : Radiation Offers New Cures, and Ways to Do Harm



Jim Nickerson
01-24-10, 10:42 PM
If you think possibly you or your loved ones might someday require therapeutic radiation to treat some form of cancer, take the time to read this 8-page article on the harms that are documented in the article. Perhaps many would like to believe things as discussed in the article in the US with the excellent health care that so many believe we have could not/would not occur.

The article is nothing short of scary. And to imagine that one might go broke paying for such "care" is almost as scary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/health/24radiation.html?hp

ThePythonicCow
01-24-10, 10:54 PM
The article is nothing short of scary. And to imagine that one might go broke paying for such "care" is almost as scary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/health/24radiation.html?hp

Yes, scary.

don
01-27-10, 07:36 PM
Part 2:

January 27, 2010
<nyt_kicker>The Radiation Boom</nyt_kicker>

<nyt_headline version="1.0" type=" "> As Technology Surges, Radiation Safeguards Lag </nyt_headline>

<nyt_byline version="1.0" type=" "> By WALT BOGDANICH (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/walt_bogdanich/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
</nyt_byline> In New Jersey, 36 cancer (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) patients at a veterans hospital in East Orange were overradiated — and 20 more received substandard treatment — by a medical team that lacked experience in using a machine that generated high-powered beams of radiation. The mistakes, which have not been publicly reported, continued for months because the hospital had no system in place to catch the errors.

In Louisiana, Landreaux A. Donaldson received 38 straight overdoses of radiation, each nearly twice the prescribed amount, while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/prostate-cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier). He was treated with a machine so new that the hospital made a miscalculation even with training instructors still on site.

In Texas, George Garst now wears two external bags — one for urine and one for fecal matter — because of severe radiation injuries he suffered after a medical physicist who said he was overworked failed to detect a mistake. The overdose was never reported to the authorities because rules did not require it.

These mistakes and the failure of hospitals (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/hospitals/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) to quickly identify them offer a rare look into the vulnerability of patient safeguards at a time when increasingly complex, computer-controlled devices are fundamentally changing medical radiation, delivering higher doses in less time with greater precision than ever before.

Serious radiation injuries are still infrequent, and the new equipment is undeniably successful in diagnosing and fighting disease. But the technology introduces its own risks: it has created new avenues for error in software and operation, and those mistakes can be more difficult to detect. As a result, a single error that becomes embedded in a treatment plan can be repeated in multiple radiation sessions.

Many of these mistakes could have been caught had basic checking protocols been followed, accident reports show. But there is also a growing realization among those who work with this new technology that some safety procedures are outdated.

“Scientific societies haven’t been able to keep up with the rapid pace of technical improvements,” said Jeffrey F. Williamson (http://www.medicalphysics.vcu.edu/faculty/williamson.htm), a professor of radiation oncology, who leads the medical physics division at the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/v/virginia_commonwealth_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in Richmond.

Hospitals, too, are lagging, sometimes failing to provide the necessary financial support to operate the sophisticated devices safely, according to accident reports and medical physicists, who set up and monitor radiological devices. And manufacturers sometimes sell machines before all the software bugs are identified and removed, records show.

extensive coverage follows...http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/us/27radiation.html?ref=todayspaper

Jim Nickerson
01-27-10, 08:44 PM
Part 2:

January 27, 2010
<nyt_kicker>The Radiation Boom</nyt_kicker>

<nyt_headline version="1.0" type=" "> As Technology Surges, Radiation Safeguards Lag </nyt_headline>

<nyt_byline version="1.0" type=" "> By WALT BOGDANICH (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/walt_bogdanich/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
</nyt_byline> In New Jersey, 36 cancer (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) patients at a veterans hospital in East Orange were overradiated — and 20 more received substandard treatment — by a medical team that lacked experience in using a machine that generated high-powered beams of radiation. The mistakes, which have not been publicly reported, continued for months because the hospital had no system in place to catch the errors.

In Louisiana, Landreaux A. Donaldson received 38 straight overdoses of radiation, each nearly twice the prescribed amount, while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/prostate-cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier). He was treated with a machine so new that the hospital made a miscalculation even with training instructors still on site.

In Texas, George Garst now wears two external bags — one for urine and one for fecal matter — because of severe radiation injuries he suffered after a medical physicist who said he was overworked failed to detect a mistake. The overdose was never reported to the authorities because rules did not require it.

These mistakes and the failure of hospitals (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/hospitals/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) to quickly identify them offer a rare look into the vulnerability of patient safeguards at a time when increasingly complex, computer-controlled devices are fundamentally changing medical radiation, delivering higher doses in less time with greater precision than ever before.

Serious radiation injuries are still infrequent, and the new equipment is undeniably successful in diagnosing and fighting disease. But the technology introduces its own risks: it has created new avenues for error in software and operation, and those mistakes can be more difficult to detect. As a result, a single error that becomes embedded in a treatment plan can be repeated in multiple radiation sessions.

Many of these mistakes could have been caught had basic checking protocols been followed, accident reports show. But there is also a growing realization among those who work with this new technology that some safety procedures are outdated.

“Scientific societies haven’t been able to keep up with the rapid pace of technical improvements,” said Jeffrey F. Williamson (http://www.medicalphysics.vcu.edu/faculty/williamson.htm), a professor of radiation oncology, who leads the medical physics division at the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/v/virginia_commonwealth_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in Richmond.

Hospitals, too, are lagging, sometimes failing to provide the necessary financial support to operate the sophisticated devices safely, according to accident reports and medical physicists, who set up and monitor radiological devices. And manufacturers sometimes sell machines before all the software bugs are identified and removed, records show.

extensive coverage follows...http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/us/27radiation.html?ref=todayspaper


Thank you, Don, for finding and posting that followup article on the lack of oversight of these powerful radiation emitting devices and the harm they have produced and may be, if not probably still are, producing.

I want to emphasize that this article--assuming it is just "pretty good" reportage--points out how much the complexity of health care lays way beyond the average concerns and comprehension of regular people who are the ones who end up receiving care. One could argue these articles involves computers and radiation and is therefore more complicated, and I would agree, but I believe there is much in medicine that is practiced on poor to little science, and there is NO way that average people--which is almost all of us when it comes to medicine--can rest assured they are usually getting what has some decent scientific documentation supporting it. The only thing one can rest assured about is if you see a doctor you will get charged a lot despite whatever may be the value or outcome of the "service."

People really should find and take the time to read these two articles--the elucidation might prove more valuable to some of us than seeking answers to whether inflation or deflation is in our futures.

swgprop
01-27-10, 11:20 PM
...but I believe there is much in medicine that is practiced on poor to little science, and there is NO way that average people--which is almost all of us when it comes to medicine--can rest assured they are usually getting what has some decent scientific documentation supporting it.

This is the key point. Cancer treatment is barbaric and ineffective; slash and burn. Promulgated by corrupt big Pharma.

ThePythonicCow
01-27-10, 11:52 PM
This is the key point. Cancer treatment is barbaric and ineffective; slash and burn. Promulgated by corrupt big Pharma.
So that's how you lived to be a hundred years old - smoking cigarette's and slamming big Pharma.

Sounds good to me. Ya' got a light?