Key Point: Errors are possible. Hospitals and licensed technicians erred dramatically in CT scanning.

Radiation Overdoses Point Up Dangers of CT Scans

By WALT BOGDANICH, Published: October 15, 2009 – N.Y. Times

“At a time when Americans receive far more diagnostic radiation than ever before, two cases under scrutiny in California — one involving a large, well-known Los Angeles hospital, the other a tiny hospital in the northern part of the state — underscore the risks that powerful CT scans pose when used incorrectly.

A week ago, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles disclosed that it had mistakenly administered up to eight times the normal radiation dose to 206 possible stroke victims over an 18-month period during a procedure intended to get clearer images of the brain. State and federal health officials are investigating the cause.

Hundreds of miles north at Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata, the other case — involving a 2 ½-year-old boy complaining of neck pain after falling off his bed — has led to the revocation of an X-ray technician’s state license for subjecting the child to more than an hour of CT scans. The procedure normally takes two or three minutes.”

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