In June we wrote that 92 veterans allegedly received <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/medical_malpractice">incorrect radiation doses when they underwent prostate cancer treatment at a VA hospital. A review just revealed that six more veterans have been added to the list, said Philly.com.
The news of the original problem came just after other reports about VA health facility scandals involving shoddy colonoscopies and endoscopies broke.
According to the Associated Press (AP) previously, the radiation issue involves veterans subjected to shoddy dosing during prostate cancer treatment over a six-year period at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia. The VA is a teaching hospital for the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said Philly.com. The program, which began in 2002, was shut down last June.
The news of the additional cases is raising questions, said Philly.com, that more cases may yet emerge. The newest cases were passed on to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week, said Philly.com. Now, a total of 98 men, representing the vast majorityâ€”an unbelievable 86 percent of 114â€”received incorrect radiation doses when being treated at the VAâ€™s brachytherapy program, reported Philly.com.
What remains unknown is how the six new cases were not discovered in the review conducted when the program ceased, said Philly.com. “The only thing we know so far is that they are reporting six events,” said Viktoria T. Mitlyng, Commission spokesperson, quoted Philly.com. The Commission oversees medical use of radioactive materials.
According to the AP earlier, the hospital team performing the brachytherapies â€œbotchedâ€ dosing and continued to conduct treatment despite that â€œmonitoring equipment was broken,â€ citing The New York Times. Most implants were performed by Penn radiation oncologist, Gary Kao, said Philly.com, previously, noting that Kao stopped seeing patients a year ago and is doing lab work at Penn.
Brachytherapy involves implantation of radioactive seeds to kill cancer cells, explained the AP, which said most veterans allegedly received â€˜â€significantly lessâ€ dosing than what was prescribed, while others â€œreceived excessive radiation to nearby tissue and organs.â€ Brachytherapy is an option only used in patients diagnosed with â€œsmall, early-stage, non-aggressive prostate cancers,â€ said Philly.com.
One of the problems involved a computer that was disconnected from the facilityâ€™s network for over one year during 2006 and 2007, said Philly.com. Also, 23 patients did not receive the necessary â€œpost-implant dose calculations.â€ Philly.com reported that the NRC discovered a number of what it described as system-wide problems at the VA facility, including that clinicians were never trained in how to define or report medical errors; a standard quality assurance (QA) measure did not exist; and problems were not revealed, despite quarterly audits.