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NIH Plans to Study Radiation Exposure During Medical Testing

Posted on Feb 5, 2010 5:30am PST

In response to concerns that Americans may be exposed to too much radiation during medical tests, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is planning to start monitoring how much radiation patients receive each time they undergo a CT scan or any other procedure that requires electronic imaging.

Two studies have raised concerns about the amount of radiation patients accumulate throughout their lifetime. One study in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that radiation exposure during medical testing and other procedures contributes to 29,000 cases of cancer and 14,500 deaths every year. A second study published in theArchives claims the problem could be even worse, suggesting patients receive up to four times more radiation from imagining tests than was originally thought. The study also mentions that children are more vulnerable to the exposure because their bodies are still small and growing.

The NIH will not monitor exposure caused by machine malfunctions or mistakes, which only accounts for a small percentage of radiation overdoses.

NIH says hospitals rarely record how much radiation a patient receives. Doses tend to vary depending on the patient’s size, the number of scans that need to be performed, and the size of the area on the body that needs to be scanned.

NIH doctors will now start recording the radiation dosage and include that information in records patients can take with them. However, the NIH doesn’t treat enough patients to fully measure such risks alone, which requires data from hundreds of thousands of patients. For this reason, the NIH is hoping other doctors and hospitals will start monitoring radiation levels, so they can pool data from multiple institutions and compare the risk of cancer between patients who received high radiation exposure versus low radiation exposure.

Contact a NC Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you are suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning or radiation overdose, and you believe a doctor or hospital is to blame, you should consider speaking with a knowledgeable North Carolina medical malpractice attorney at Lanier Law Group, P.A. To schedule an appointment to discuss your case at a FREE consultation, please contact the office today by calling 855-234-7619!

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