CA Governor Signs Radiation Overdose Bill into Law

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , October 1, 2010

The dose is required to be verified annually by a medical physicist unless the facility is accredited. The law also requires the facility administering the scan to report certain information about the scan to the department, the affected patient, and the patient's treating physician. Technical factors and dose must also be sent to the electronic picture archiving and communication systems.

State health officials will be required to be informed about any event, within five days of its discovery, in which

  • The administration of radiation results in a repeat CT exam, unless otherwise ordered by a physician or a radiologist, if the following dose values are exceeded: .05Sv (5 rem) effective dose equivalent, .5Sv (50 rem) to an organ or tissue or .5Sv (50 rem) shallow dose equivalent to the skin.
  • ACT X-ray irradiation is done of a body part other than that which was intended by the ordering physician or radiologist if certain dosages are exceeded.
  • CT or therapeutic exposure results in unanticipated permanent functional damage to an organ or a physiological system, hair loss, erythema or skin reddening or rash, as determined by a qualified physician.
  • A CT or therapeutic dose to an embryo or fetus is greater than 50 mSv (5 rem) dose equivalent that is a result of radiation to a known pregnant individual unless the dose to the embryo or fetus was specifically approved, in advance, by a qualified physician.
  • Therapeutic ionizing irradiation is done on the wrong individual or wrong treatment site.

The new law makes an exception for instances when total dose of ionizing radiation exceeds 20% or more, but is done "for palliative care for the specific patient."

The California incidents, as well as CT overdoses elsewhere in the nation, have prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue new rules for how manufacturers of imaging devices set dosage controls on their machines.

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1 comments on "CA Governor Signs Radiation Overdose Bill into Law"

Mike Hanley (10/1/2010 at 10:30 PM) has more info on radiation and cancer risk including an online calculator that lets you calculate radiation dose and estimate cancer risk from CT scans, x-rays and procedures.




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