Radiation therapies are necessary for cancer treatment today. Used often in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgeries, radiation is a lifesaving treatment for thousands of people all over the world. In rare cases, mistakes can occur, leading to lethal doses of radiation in the body. When radiation goes wrong, the results can be disastrous. If you have reason to believe radiation errors caused your injuries or a loved one’s death, learn more about this type of medical malpractice at Anapol Weiss of Philadelphia.
About Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses special equipment to hit cancer cells with high doses of radiation. The radiation makes small breaks in the DNA within the cancer cells. These breaks prevent the cells from growing and multiplying, and it can often kill them. Radiation is a localized treatment that targets only cancer cells, unlike chemotherapy that works throughout the body. If radiation strikes nearby normal cells in the process, they typically make a full recovery.
Doctors understand that the body can only take so much radiation without suffering irreversible damage. Thus, there is lifetime limit of how much radiation treatment a person can receive. This information helps doctors decide how much radiation to give and where to aim the equipment. Radiation can also cause harm to infants if the mother is pregnant at the time of the therapy.
Radiation Side Effects
Routine radiation therapy can cause side effects such as:
- Skin problems
- Hair loss,
- Low blood cell or platelet counts
- Digestive problems
These symptoms are relatively normal and do not necessarily point to medical malpractice. If you experience injuries such as organ damage and radiation burns, however, you may be the victim of a radiation overdose.
Medical Malpractice and Radiation Overdose
Radiation therapies are delicate procedures that require careful equipment calibration, positioning, and communication with the patient. There are many people and steps involved in radiation therapy, making it a high-risk procedure. There may be a radiation oncologist, physicist, dosimetrist, and radiation therapy technician, all working on the same patient to plan and deliver radiation therapy. The goal is to target the tumor site and restrict contact with healthy tissues and organs.
Misadministration of radiation can lead to targeting the wrong site, exposing healthy tissues to unnecessary levels of radiation, or failing to affect the tumor site. Radiation overdoses can be fatal, or at least cause serious injuries. Cases of radiation overdose fatalities have occurred throughout the last few decades and continue to happen. These injurious mistakes can occur due to lack of communication, improper planning, negligent administration, malfunctioning software or equipment, and incompetence.
Radiation overdoses and errors are preventable with proper training and patient care. Those in charge of planning, preparing, and administering radiation therapies undergo significant training before they can perform the procedure on patients. Despite the potential risks and dangers of improperly administered radiation, not all staff members are as careful and diligent as they should be. Carelessness, negligence, and recklessness can lead to terrible health problems in affected patients, making the battle against cancer that much more difficult.
Are You a Victim of Radiation Errors?
If you recently underwent radiation therapy and suffered internal organ damage, excessive hair loss, radiation burns, or other personal injuries, contact Anapol Weiss. It is possible that you are the victim of a radiation overdose. If your doctor tells you that the radiation therapy did not make a difference in the size of your tumor site, this is another potential sign of radiation error. Since your body can only take limited treatments, mistakes like these can eliminate your opportunity to fight cancer. To learn more about this type of medical malpractice, call (866) 735-2792 to speak with our attorneys.