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(News-Leader.com)   Hospital admits those receiving certain cancer treatment last year were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. A spokesperson for the patients indicated that he was, "angry, and you wouldn't like [him] when [he's] angry."   (news-leader.com) divider line 41
    More: Scary, radiation, Department of Health, ill-health, overexposure, tumors, doses, oncologists, malfunctions  
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2990 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Feb 2010 at 11:17 AM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



41 Comments   (+0 »)
   

Archived thread
 
2010-02-25 11:18:19 AM  
Well, it's not like they weren't going to die anyway. Now they'll just die a little faster. Sounds like the insurance lobby was behind this.
 
2010-02-25 11:18:48 AM  
HULK, CANCER!
 
2010-02-25 11:18:56 AM  
wow....is it possible for subby to also win the thread?

/not subby
 
2010-02-25 11:20:17 AM  
upload.wikimedia.org

Approves
 
2010-02-25 11:21:26 AM  
Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense.
jc.people.vee.net
/everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too
 
2010-02-25 11:22:03 AM  
I see you what you did there.

/nice try Subby. +1 for effort.
 
2010-02-25 11:23:31 AM  
theinsultabot9000: wow....is it possible for subby to also win the thread?

/not subby


Absolutely. Since Subby couldn't be here with us tonight, I will be accepting the win for him/her.

/Fond memories of when my wife was radioactive for a week.
//The I131 gave her super sexual powers.
 
2010-02-25 11:24:30 AM  
Is HulkHands still around?
 
2010-02-25 11:24:55 AM  
dittybopper: theinsultabot9000: wow....is it possible for subby to also win the thread?

/not subby

Absolutely. Since Subby couldn't be here with us tonight, I will be accepting the win for him/her.

/Fond memories of when my wife was radioactive for a week.
//The I131 gave her super sexual powers.


She must have had quite the afterglow.
 
2010-02-25 11:27:44 AM  
MBooda: Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense.

/everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too


+1
 
2010-02-25 11:27:55 AM  
Awesome... my tumors needed tumors.
 
2010-02-25 11:29:26 AM  
Will there be drama? I don't want no drama.
 
2010-02-25 11:38:27 AM  
Christopian: Awesome... my tumors needed tumors.

IT'S NOT A TUMOR!
 
2010-02-25 11:40:32 AM  
Aren't "dangerous levels of radiation" the only way to actually kill the cancer? If they weren't dangerous levels, none of the malignancy would be eliminated! Just read TFA, yeah so they received 20-70% more than the prescribed dose. I know I'm a callous prick, it's just my father is going through a lot of health problems stemming from radiation he received 20 years ago to treat his testicular cancer (bladder, kidneys, supposedly his prostate is "mush"). It's a choice you make in an attempt to eliminate the cancer that basically removes 20-30 years from your lifespan.

(he was only in his mid-30s when diagnosed, I'm wondering if I'll have to worry about that soon :/)
 
2010-02-25 11:51:21 AM  
It's a nitpick and I know what the headline means, but cancer treatment radiation is dangerous if done correctly. It has to be able to kill tissue. Although, if done correctly, dose in non,cancerous regions is mininized. It's actually kind of cool how they do it.
 
2010-02-25 11:52:55 AM  
Thank God my son went to duke (yeah they suck, yada yada). The treatment for cancer (at least leukemia) is farking horrible in the best circumstances.

Not sure I would have wanted my cable company providing health care as well as quality programming.
 
2010-02-25 11:55:32 AM  
Isn't this kind of the point? It's not like they use radiation to give you super powers. They use it to damage and kill cancer cells.
 
2010-02-25 11:59:27 AM  
An unfounded scare. Of course they shouldn't give doses higher than prescribed. But radiation is not the ooh-scary stuff the article makes it out to be (with "scare quotes" around the word therapeutic). Physicist Leo Szilard thought the doctors treating his cancer were using pansy levels of radiation and treated himself with far higher doses, knocking out the cancer. He died of a heart attack.
 
2010-02-25 12:18:32 PM  
An unfounded scare

Really?

You know they are selling houses in the Love Canal district again.

Just saying that since you feel bullet proof you might like to investigate it.


*trying to be funny and like you, I think I'm killer funny*
 
2010-02-25 12:18:42 PM  
Therac-25 anyone?
 
2010-02-25 12:24:05 PM  
dittybopper:
/Fond memories of when my wife was radioactive for a week.
//The I131 gave her super sexual powers.


A friend of mine used to tell me about how his wife had radiation treatment in the 70's and afterwards, she "simply glowed."

/She was still alive in 2005, though.
 
2010-02-25 12:28:47 PM  
JohnAnnArbor: An unfounded scare. Of course they shouldn't give doses higher than prescribed. But radiation is not the ooh-scary stuff the article makes it out to be (with "scare quotes" around the word therapeutic). Physicist Leo Szilard thought the doctors treating his cancer were using pansy levels of radiation and treated himself with far higher doses, knocking out the cancer. He died of a heart attack.

It isn't, but they're (apparently) professionals and should have known better. The dose limits are there for a reason.

Anecdote about Szilard doesn't mean a damn thing, honestly. Fermi died when he was 53, and when Szilard was treating himself health physics was still pretty damn young. We have a HELL of a lot of data now and THAT'S where the damn limits are derived from.

Tell someone who's going through radiation treatment right now that they're just getting 'pansy levels of radiation'. Preferably in the presence of their spouse. Lemme know how that works out for you, okay?
 
2010-02-25 12:31:52 PM  
LostSaidDocument: Aren't "dangerous levels of radiation" the only way to actually kill the cancer? If they weren't dangerous levels, none of the malignancy would be eliminated! Just read TFA, yeah so they received 20-70% more than the prescribed dose. I know I'm a callous prick, it's just my father is going through a lot of health problems stemming from radiation he received 20 years ago to treat his testicular cancer (bladder, kidneys, supposedly his prostate is "mush"). It's a choice you make in an attempt to eliminate the cancer that basically removes 20-30 years from your lifespan.

(he was only in his mid-30s when diagnosed, I'm wondering if I'll have to worry about that soon :/)


It sucks your dad is going through that and I hope you never have to. It is still a bit of a trade off but it is nowhere near as nasty as it used to be.

RemyDuron: It's a nitpick and I know what the headline means, but cancer treatment radiation is dangerous if done correctly. It has to be able to kill tissue. Although, if done correctly, dose in non,cancerous regions is mininized. It's actually kind of cool how they do it.

One way involves a large machine like this :
www.varian.com

moving around you shooting radiation beams shaped by one of these
www.varian.com

to do something like this : varian.mediaroom.com

That last picture shows pretty clearly what they are trying to go for with the treatment. Each beam isn't much by itself but where they overlap gets a very high dose.

Older machines used hand made lead molds to shape the radiation. Newer machines can do things like this :
sitemason.vanderbilt.edu

/Links hot
//Mails in my badge for testing to see how hot
///Didn't want kids without awesome hulk powers anyway
 
2010-02-25 12:33:59 PM  
RemyDuron and JohnAnnArbor:

Read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/health/24radiation.html

Then get back to us. Some of the mistakes in radiation treatment are horrifying and likely hasten the patients' deaths.
 
2010-02-25 12:37:30 PM  
Yes, Slash, but isn't that true of just about ANY medical treatment?

In a hundred years, they'll look back in horror at what we're doing, but we're making SOME progress now.
 
2010-02-25 12:39:16 PM  
Oh, I forgot to add that none of that cool stuff matters if you can't calibrate the machine properly. Look around at your jobs and think of how many people really are just terrible at them. It makes sense that this carries over to most every workplace out there. I have seen scary things in hospitals. This article is no surprise.
 
2010-02-25 12:46:34 PM  
TheRealLurker: Oh, I forgot to add that none of that cool stuff matters if you can't calibrate the machine properly. Look around at your jobs and think of how many people really are just terrible at them. It makes sense that this carries over to most every workplace out there. I have seen scary things in hospitals. This article is no surprise.

Yea, wasn't there a link last month about how radiology technicians were skipping over problems with the computer and the doctors supervising them also missed them? It was happening with the beam radiation, and people were getting holes in their body because of it (and dying).
 
2010-02-25 01:03:43 PM  
RE PunGent 2010-02-25 12:37:30 PM
"Yes, Slash, but isn't that true of just about ANY medical treatment?"

Done properly, radiation treatment is helpful and lifesaving (potentially) and all that good shiat. Done improperly, it maims and eventually kills people. The point is not that treatment is bad, but that piss-poor treatment is bad. We can agree on that, right? That there should be standards that should be followed so that if you undergo some kind of radiation treatment, they don't end up irradiating your entire farking head (rather than the one small part of it that was supposed to be treated) to the extent that you lose the ability to swallow or see or hear and end up dying a lot sooner than you would have otherwise.

The radiation they use now is controlled by computers. A computer mistake that results in someone getting a giant dose of radiation that they weren't supposed to get is catastrophic (for that person). And apparently, these computer errors are very common.
 
2010-02-25 01:18:24 PM  
Any ionizing radiation is a dangerous level of radiation.

The idea is that by ionizing someone you're doing more good than harm (by providing an image necessary to help them or by providing enough ionization to kill the (higher metabolism) cancer cells while killing fewer of the healthy body cells.

That said, radiation therapy uses a really whole lot of radiation. Giving someone 70% more radiation than necessary in that situation is a whole lot worse than giving someone 70% more radiation than necessary on a CXR. Mistakes in radiation therapy simply should not happen, and when they do there should be serious investigation into why they happened and how to prevent it from happening again.
 
2010-02-25 01:30:09 PM  
Read on (pops to NYT)

And this (also pops)
 
2010-02-25 01:45:41 PM  
Accidents have been happening, similar to the Therac. Operators have been negligent, have not performed tests to see if collimators have been properly focused, and in the process have fatally zapped patients.

Like Toyota's lack of safety interlocks, we're seeing another branch of technology where in the absence of checklists or hard-fails, serious problems are occuring.

From the NY Times Article:

As Scott Jerome-Parks lay dying, he clung to this wish: that his fatal radiation overdose - which left him deaf, struggling to see, unable to swallow, burned, with his teeth falling out, with ulcers in his mouth and throat, nauseated, in severe pain and finally unable to breathe - be studied and talked about publicly so that others might not have to live his nightmare.

More:

Alexandra Jn-Charles absorbed the first of 27 days of radiation overdoses, each three times the prescribed amount. A linear accelerator with a missing filter would burn a hole in her chest, leaving a gaping wound so painful that this mother of two young children considered suicide.
 
2010-02-25 02:20:16 PM  
I highly encourage everyone to read up on the Therac-25 incidents. I'm glad I'm not the only one referencing them in this thread. They are important reminders on the importance of not only technical problems (redundant systems, error handling, independent interlocks, etc.) but on political problems (incidents not being reported, company trying to bury info, etc) that can come into play when an industry is not as regulated as it should be.

It should be standard reading for any computer science course, especially in development fields.
 
2010-02-25 02:33:41 PM  
Headline of the day, i lold

/still lolin
//just came to say this
 
2010-02-25 03:10:39 PM  
I'm currently in school to become a radiation protection technician, and I just have to point out this is a LOT more common than you think. The machines are adjusted wrong, loaded with the wrong software, or just not calibrated, sometimes for as long as eight years. If you go in for ANY sort of radiological treatment, demand to see all the paperwork for the machine, specifically its last calibration date and the training record of the person who's going to give you the treatment.
 
2010-02-25 04:25:50 PM  
psykomantis: I highly encourage everyone to read up on the Therac-25 incidents.

Was going to say this. The Therac-25 is an outstanding case study of how not to build something. The concept of "fail safe" was apparently not in their vocabulary.
 
2010-02-25 04:30:50 PM  
TheRealLurker: Newer machines can do things like this: [einstein]

ok, that is pretty incredible. greyscale-pixel printing with x/beta rays? That's nuts. We have come a LONG way from the simple "wheel target assembly" on the Therac-25, and that wasn't even that long ago.
 
2010-02-25 06:11:58 PM  
I really wanted this to be a hulk thread.

I am disappoint.
 
2010-02-25 06:27:25 PM  
Cox Urology clinic is my favorite application of their name.

/no cox cable service in springfield, mo - we have mediacom, which is terrible.
//live two blocks away from "CoxSouth" - free helicopter shows every hour
///Not surprised about the miscalibration, given the native population is one generation removed from sippin shine on their porch with their toe sticking out of their boot etc
////whats this fancy NUKE-YOU-LARR stuff anyway?
//boy, do they love their high school basketball around these parts
//man, never been in a place with so many child molesters and meth-heads...
 
2010-02-25 06:48:59 PM  
Just take some Rad-Away and walk it off.
 
2010-02-25 10:56:16 PM  
The article states that the actual dose received by the patients was 20-70% higher than the dose prescribed. Very doubtful, if not completely doubtful that any of the people died as a result of the overdoses. Note that the fatality rates among those receiving the higher overdoses was similar to those receiving the smaller overdose.

In the case of the Therac-25, the doses were 50 to 100 times that of the prescribed dosage.

Radiation, like many things in our world can be used as powerful and beneficial tools, but still demand respect.
 
2010-02-26 03:52:36 AM  
I don't remember that episode Subby.

Link (new window)
 
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