Hospital Horror Stories: When CT Scans Go Wrong
Computerized tomography scans, also known as CT scans, use X-ray images from different angles to give highly accurate and visual imaging of soft tissues, bones and blood vessels. This widely used diagnostic test is one of the most accurate available, but it does come with some risks.
We have previously covered blogs discussing how CT scans can increase the risk of cancer and why these tests might be overused, but there are also other dangers. While CT scans are very important under the right circumstances, there are rare cases where patients have been seriously injured. CT scans use X-rays to give accurate imaging, which means patients can be overexposed to radiation.
What Are the Consequences of Radiation Overexposure from CT Scans?
Patients overexposed to radiation can suffer from burns, hair loss and a heightened risk of developing cancer.
For example, a West Virginia woman was left disfigured and partially disabled after a CT scan overexposed her to radiation. Doctors ordered the CT scan to diagnose problems she was having with migraines and nerve pain. After receiving the CT scan, she felt as if heat were emanating from inside of her head. Soon afterwards, her hair started falling out and her face appeared burned. She also suffered from balance and memory problems. Two months after the CT scan, she discovered the radiologist had overexposed her to radiation.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, radiation overexposure from CT scans can also occur during unnecessary follow-up tests. Unnecessary CT scans might heighten the risk of cancer in patients. Health care professionals should always assess whether patients have been overexposed. While severe injuries from CT scans are exceptionally rare, when they do occur, patients can suffer permanent effects. CT scans are helpful diagnostic tools that save lives, but they should always be used responsibly.
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group can help families and patients hurt by hospital mistakes.