GE Healthcare Sued Over Alleged CT Scan Radiation Overdose

A woman who may have received a <"">botched CT brain scan at a Huntsville, Alabama hospital has filed suit against GE Healthcare, the maker of the scanner used in her procedure. The class action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Alabama, claims the GE Healthcare CT scanner lacked safety features to warn of radiation overdoses.

In October, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating CT scan overdoses. The FDA probe was launched after Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles confirmed that 206 patients mistakenly received eight times the regular dose of radiation during CT brain scans,. The machine at Cedars-Sinai had been set at the higher level since February 2008, but the mistake had not been detected for 18 months. According to the Medical Center, the overdoses were discovered in August, when a patient reported hair loss.

Just last week, the FDA released interim results of its investigation. In addition to the cases at Cedars-Sinai, the agency identified at least 50 additional patients who were exposed to excess radiation of up to eight times the expected level during their CT brain scans. According to an Associated Press report, those incidents occurred at Glendale Adventist Medical Center and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. Some reports have also been received from Huntsville Hospital in Alabama.

To date, all of the radiation overdose cases involve more than one manufacturer of CT scanners. The FDA has not yet determined if the overdoses were the result of human error or some sort of equipment problem.

According to the Alabama lawsuit, Becky Coudert had a scan on Sept. 8 at Huntsville Hospital. She said she soon lost her balance, had trouble with her memory and her hair fell out in a narrow band from ear to ear. Her lawsuit claims GE Healthcare “carelessly researched the design and failed to adequately test” its products, and that the scanners lacked safety features to warn of overdoses.

The lawsuits seeks a minimum of $5 million to set up a fund to cover future healthcare costs and payments, specifically providing regular monitoring for brain cancer in all affected patients. The lawsuit claims the affects of CT scan radiation overdoses may not become apparent for decades.

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