After horrible deaths caused by medical radiation mistakes are uncovered, medical group issues (sort of) an apology

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: radiation therapy, medical mistakes, health news

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(NaturalNews) In late January, the New York Times published a startling and groundbreaking series of reports by investigative reporter Walt Bogdanich who has uncovered case after case of people who suffered devastating consequences -- including horrendously painful, torture-like deaths -- because of medical mistakes related to radiation treatment. In response to these articles, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) just issued a statement saying the group and its members "deeply regret that these events have occurred, and we continue to work hard to reduce the likelihood of similar events in the future."

Nowhere in the statement does the AAPM acknowledge specifically what events they are talking about -- and they do not even mention the almost incomprehensible human suffering connected to these unnamed "events". Instead, the AAPM is clearly most interested in pacifying the public so they won't be worried about the dangers associated with medical radiation.

As the statement puts it, the AAPM "seeks to reassure the public on the safety of radiation therapy, which is safely and effectively used to treat hundreds of thousands of people with cancer and other diseases every year in the United States. Medical physicists in hospitals and clinics across the United States are board-certified professionals who play a key role in assuring quality during these treatments."

That reassurance is likely to mean little to the friends and relatives of people killed by medical radiation. No doubt, these patients were assured before their treatment began that their radiation was state-of-the-art western medicine, delivered by highly trained medical professionals.

Horrifying deaths caused by "medical" radiation

For example, Bogdanich reported on the heartbreaking tale of Scott Jerome-Parks who was literally irradiated to death. While he was being treated for tongue cancer, staff in a New York City hospital didn't notice a computer error was directing a linear accelerator to zap Jerome-Parks' brain stem and neck with off-target beams of high-dose radiation on three consecutive days.

He was left deaf, almost blind, burned, and unable to swallow. His teeth fell out among the ulcers lacing his mouth and throat. He died, in excruciating pain, weeks after his radiation "treatment" at the age of 43.

The very day a warning was issued to other hospitals to be more careful with radiation, Bogdanich pointed out in his report, at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn a 32-year-old woman with breast cancer was subjected to a huge radiation overdose -- three times the prescribed amount. And it didn't stop there. This intense irradiation of her body went on for 27 days until it burned a hideous, open hole into her chest. The young mother of two young children suffered horrendous pain and then died a month after Jerome-Parks.

Unfortunately, anyone who is assured by the AAPM's public relations statement about the intrinsic safety of medical radiation is simply not well informed. One worrisome concern is the fact Americans are being exposed to cancer-causing radiation in huge numbers -- the average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation Americans receive has gone up 600 percent in the last three decades (http://www.naturalnews.com/025767_cancer_Nat...). In addition, when safety rules are overlooked or the incredibly complex and high powered 21st century radiation devices have a glitch, the consequences clearly can be disastrous.

And while the AAPM may want patients to think mistakes involving medical radiation are so rare as to be nothing to worry about, the fact is more and more of these tragedies have been reported over the past few years. For example, NaturalNews has previously reported on the death of a teenager who received a massive overdose of radiation (http://www.naturalnews.com/020824_cancer_can...) and how patients receiving CT brain scans at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles unknowingly received large overdoses of radiation over a course of 18 months (http://www.naturalnews.com/027541_radiation_...).

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