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Veterans Affairs Hospital Fined for Medical Errors

We have previous posted the news of radiation violations which affected thousands of patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. Last week, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission finished its investigation into the incidents, and ultimately decided to fine the Department of Veterans Affairs $39,000 for the medical mistakes.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the fine was levied after radiation safety violations were uncovered at 12 VA hospitals. This particular fine resulted for two separate incidents connected to the Department’s brachytherapy program. Brachytherapy is essentially the use of radiation to attack tumors in the body. It involves implanting dozens of radioactive seeds into certain glands in an effort to kill cancer cells over a period of months.

Radiation treatment obviously poses unique risks to those who need it. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys have fought for many patients who have suffered at the hands of radiation errors in various forms. The risk of mistakes in radiation is high, so obviously extreme care should always be used by medical professionals. However, The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission discovered that the VA failed to have any pre-operative procedures in place and failed to notify patients of errors following a failed procedure.

This is not the first punishment handed out to the Department for problematic radiation medical care. Earlier this year, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hit the VA with a $227,500 fine after it was discovered that residents received incorrect doses of radiation over a six year period as part of their prostate brachytherapy treatment.

The repeated issues connected to the brachytherapy treatment vividly demonstrate that problems existed right from the start of the program, and doctors repeatedly failed to fix them. The medical mistakes affecting hundreds of our nation’s veterans have been noticed by many concerned with proper patient care. As Congressman John Adler argued, “The NRC has found widespread medical misconduct throughout the VA’s brachytherapy program. It is time the VA acknowledges and fixes their mistakes.”