Medical Radiation From Radiology Scans to be More Stringently Regulated Per New FDA Requirements

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is working with other entities to launch The Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging. The purpose of the initiative is to promote safer use of all relevant medical imaging devices, to support and increase the degree of clinical decision making, and to further patient awareness.

This initiative is part of a growing movement to increase the safety of life-saving diagnostic and therapeutic radiation and prevent Illinois radiology errors from occurring. The FDA has promised to take steps towards increasing its regulatory supervision of some of the more powerful forms of medical radiation, including fluoroscopy, CT scans, and nuclear medicine.

Some of these forms of radiology can deliver enough radiation in one exposure to equal almost 400 chest x-rays. Obviously with scans this powerful it is important that the medical community is making informative decisions as to the appropriateness of their use and practicing safe administration of these tests.

For several weeks prior to the release of the FDA report regarding radiation-emitting products, the federal agency had been investigating a series of over-radiation involving a certain powerful CT scanner that had occurred over an 18-month period. The report involved more than 300 patients in four different hospitals nationwide who had been over-radiated by a CT scan being used to detect strokes.

The first report of these radiology error cases was made last year at an Los Angeles hospital where patients were found to have received at least eight times too much radiation. The over-radiation error in the 300-plus patients was discovered only when the patients began reporting hair loss after undergoing the CT scan.

At this point the FDA is optimistic that it will be able to reduce unnecessary exposure due to nuclear medicine studies, fluroscopy, and CT scans. While these types of high-powered scans certainly carry certain risks, they also can yield significant benefits for patients. The FDA plans to balance the benefits with the risks and work on making sure this approach is applied across all medical disciplines.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois radiation errors for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Chicago, Naperville, Oak Park, and Deer Park.

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