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Rash of Radiation Overdoses Reveal Problems with Medical Care

Certain medical procedures, tests, and operations will always involve risks. It is understood that even perfect medical care may produce complications at times. However, that fact does not absolve all medical personnel from doing all in their power to reasonably shield patients from unwanted side-effects.

For example, medical necessity at times requires patients to be exposed to varying levels of radiation. In those circumstances, it is vital that medical personnel take precautions to minimize the radiation exposure and keep patients as safe as possible. Unfortunately, there are many instances when that does not occur.

The New York Times recently published a detailed story including examples of egregious radiation exposure errors. A Chicago area facility, Evanston Hospital is currently at the center of controversy after three patients were severely harmed following a medical mistake of overexposure to radiation.

One victim was a young woman who went to the hospital to get treatment for head pain. She agreed to undergo a procedure known as stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS-a therapy that targets tiny tumors in the brain with a powerful, pinpoint radiation attack. The potency of the radiation makes accuracy essential. Unfortunately, what the victim didn’t know was that Evanston Hospital lacked certain safety features to ensure that the radiation did not spill into unwanted areas. The radiation was ultimately funneled outside of the metal cone that was supposed to channel the beam. Her entire head was exposed to lethal doses of radiation. She is now in a nursing home, virtually comatose, unable to eat, speak, walk, or care for her three young children.

That young victim was not the only one. It was soon discovered that at least two other patients had suffered similar injuries at the same hospital. Investigations since have revealed that the SRS process has leads to dozens of over radiation errors. In many of those cases the errors might have been caught if the medical personnel had only followed more rigorous safety protocols.

Our Chicago malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti are proud to fight for victims and their families whose lives are turned upside down by these medical mistakes. Errors may always occur, but there is no reason that the victims should not receive redress for their losses. If you or someone you know finds themselves in that situation, contact our malpractice attorneys to learn about your legal options.

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