While the initial accident report merely described that a hospital had administered radiation overdoses to three patients, a more complete and detailed report has since surfaced in the months following. Urgent nationwide warnings advised physicians to be extremely vigilant when treating with a device delivering high-intensity pinpoint radiation to vulnerable parts of the body. These nationwide warnings followed three incidents of Illinois medical malpractice.
One of the Illinois medical malpractice victims had gone to Evanston Hospital seeking treatment for pain from a nerve deep inside her head. Now, after being treated with stereotactic radiosurgery, she is in a nursing home, nearly comatose, unable to speak, eat, or walk and leaving her husband to provide the sole care for their three young daughters.
The New York Times reported that the Illinois medical malpractice victim received stereotactic radiosurgery, SRS, a radiation therapy that is quickly gaining popularity. Its designed to target tiny tumors and other anomalies affecting the brain or spinal cord, while causing little damage to surrounding areas. However, the concentration and intensity of the radiation requires extreme accuracy. According to records, the Evanston Hospital unit did not have certain safety features, which could have prevented the radiation from leaking outside of its intended area. Two other patients were also overdosed before the Evanston hospital became aware that the device had allowed radiation to spill outside the cone attachment.
Prevention of problems like these requires system-wide change. Reporting of issues needs to be transparent, accessible, and mandatory. Regulations are also needed.
Read more about the Illinois injured victim at New York Times.