Seventy-six patients undergoing stereotactic radiation treatment between 2004 and September 2009 at Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth for brain and other difficult-to-treat tumors received doses 50% higher than prescribed, according to a news release from the three-hospital system.
The overradiated patients represent half the number of people who were treated using a specific piece of equipment during that period of time, officials said.
“In the simplest terms, when the BrainLab stereotactic system was put into service in 2004, we believe that the CoxHealth chief physicist responsible for initially measuring the strength of the radiation beam and gathering the data used to calibrate the equipment chose the wrong measurement device,” said John Duff, senior vice president of hospital operations.
The wrong setting and subsequent cases of excess radiation were discovered in September 2009 when a new physicist was being trained on the equipment, according to officials.
CoxHealth has contacted or is in the process of contacting patients who received the excess radiation, and the hospital will pay for all follow-up exams, tests and care provided as a result of the incidents. “We also have reported this incident to the national hospital accreditation agency, the Joint Commission,” Duff said.
Missouri does not require reporting of radiation treatment overdoses.