Among the things that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been looking into over the past few weeks is the reason behind the over-radiation of more than 300 patients in four hospitals by CT scans. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles first found out about cases of over-radiation last year, with some patients receiving up to eight times as much radiation as needed, according to a report
on The New York Times.
Apparently, the errors have been going on for a year and a half, but it was only after patients lost their hair that these errors were detected.
With that going on, the FDA made an announcement on Tuesday that they will be taking steps to more stringently regulate three of the most potent forms of medical radiation. The medical imaging procedures included are CT scans, a procedure that can deliver the radiation equivalent of 400 chest X-rays; nuclear medicine studies where a radioactive substance is given to a patient and the physician watches as it moves through the body; and fluoroscopies, a procedure where a continuous internal image is provided on a monitor by a radiation-emitting device.
According to the FDA, these types of imaging exams expose patients to ionizing radiation, a type of radiation that can increase a person's lifetime cancer risk. Accidental exposure to very high amounts of radiation also can cause injuries, such as skin burns, hair loss, and cataracts.
While the FDA has had jurisdiction over medical devices used while conducting laboratory tests
for quite some time, it has not fully utilized its power.