Florida Hospitals Sued For Unsafe Radiation Treatments

Posted on April 01, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group


When untrained hospital staff hurt patients or families, victims may have grounds to sue for medical malpractice.

A Florida hospital’s parent company has paid $5.4 million to the U.S. government to settle a dispute over using unqualified medical professionals for radiation procedures. According to the claims from a whistle blower and former employee of the Florida Oncology Network, the hospitals provided radiation-oncology services to patients without supervision by qualified healthcare professionals.

By not hiring radiation oncologists, the hospital put patients undergoing treatment for cancer at risk for developing serious health complications from treatment.

According to the Department of Justice, patients affected by the dangerous treatments were using Medicare or military health insurance, also known as TRICARE.

What Health Risks are Associated With Radiation Oncology?

Radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer can cause unpleasant side effects depending on several factors, such as the part of the body undergoing treatment and the length of exposure.

Saliva, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting can occur throughout treatment. The greatest risk during any kind of medical procedure involving radiation is overexposure, which can lead to far more serious immediate and long-term health complications.

Overexposure to radiation during treatment can cause burns and damage to organs, and it might increase the risk of developing additional cancers years later. In one of the cases represented in the $5.4 million settlement, an incident of patient harm during radiation oncology left a woman paralyzed from the waist down.

Radiation oncologists take several years to complete training, and the hospitals mentioned in the federal lawsuit are accused of using staff members who are far less qualified.

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