For cancer patients, radiation unquestionably saves lives — but is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Unfortunately, yes. Excessive radiation can kill, and it can happen quickly.
While rare, radiation errors can inflict unspeakable pain on already-suffering patients, causing horrible injuries and sometimes death. Today’s new technology uses state-of-the-art computer software and sophisticated machinery to generate intensive beams of radiation, carefully calibrated to target the cancer with minimal risk of harm.
But computers make mistakes. Machines malfunction. Even human error can lead to oversight or inadequate maintenance. In those cases, patients may find themselves absorbing lethal doses of radiation in each treatment — sometimes for weeks on end before anyone notices.
Often, by the time the radiation errors are discovered, the damage is already done (with little hope for reversal).
How Radiation Errors Happen
Radiation error victims initially go in for standard treatment just like anyone else. They trust their doctors and the machines to do their jobs and safeguard their lives, having no idea that they are about to receive a deadly dose that will do far more harm than good.
There have been many documented radiation errors, and they paint a picture of just how easy it is for something to go wrong. Consider the following known risks:
- Linear accelerator machines have been known to malfunction or fall vulnerable to programming errors, generating overwhelmingly toxic doses in a single beam.
- Radiation beams are sometimes positioned incorrectly so that they treat the wrong part of the body or otherwise miss the target.
- Improper inspection of equipment is also sometimes to blame. In 2007, a Brooklyn woman had a hole burned through her chest because an accelerator was missing a filter. She later died.
- Hospital staff shortages can result in inattentiveness by medical professionals. Doctor error may also lead to unwarranted prescriptions of radiation.
Radiation Error Victims
Fortunately, serious radiation accidents are uncommon, and most patients never experience a crippling miscalculation. But for those who do, the consequences can be devastating. Treatment is available in some instances, but the damages are often irreparable, if not fatal.
Radiation error victims deserve compensation for their suffering. A medical malpractice attorney at Luvera Law Firm—a firm experienced in handling these claims—can help patients and their families seek recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.
To find out whether you might have a case, schedule a free consultation with experienced attorneys at the Luvera Law Firm. We’re here to help.