Shocking Over-Radiation of Infants

Dr. Salvatore J. A. Sclafani discovered that at the department he ran at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, premature babies were being over-radiated.  Dr. Sclafani had noticed that a newborn had been irradiated from head to toe, even though only a chest X-ray had been ordered.

In fact, technologists had given the same baby about 10 whole-body X-rays.  And Dr. John Amodio, a pediatric radiologist, found that such full-body X-rays of premature babies had occurred often, that radiation levels had been set too high, and that babies had been poorly positioned. Although Dr. Sclafani and Dr. Amodio stopped the practice, the hospital never reported the problems to state health officials as required.

The New York Times reports:

“The errors at Downstate raise broader questions about the competence, training and oversight of technologists who operate radiological equipment ... With technologists in many states lightly regulated, or not at all, their own professional group is calling for greater oversight and standards ... [But] Congress has yet to pass what has become known as the CARE bill because, supporters say, it lacks a powerful legislator to champion its cause.”

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