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RADIOTHERAPY ACCIDENT IN COSTA RICA - CAUSE AND PREVENTION OF RADIATION ACCIDENTS IN HOSPITALS







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RADIOTHERAPY ACCIDENT IN COSTA RICA - CAUSE AND PREVENTION OF RADIATION ACCIDENTS IN HOSPITALS . Module XIX. Cause and prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals. Radiation accidents with severe and even fatal consequences do occur in medical facilities
RADIOTHERAPY ACCIDENT IN COSTA RICA - CAUSE AND PREVENTION OF RADIATION ACCIDENTS IN HOSPITALS

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Slide 1

RADIOTHERAPY ACCIDENT IN COSTA RICA - CAUSE AND PREVENTION OF RADIATION ACCIDENTS IN HOSPITALS

Module XIX

Slide 2

Cause and prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals

  • Radiation accidents with severe and even fatal consequences do occur in medical facilities

  • Human error is most common cause of radiation accidents

Slide 3

Main initiating event

  • 22 Aug 1996, at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica, a calibration error was made for new 60-Co source

  • Consequently, the delivered dose to cancer patients was overestimated by about 60 %

  • By 27 Sept 96 115 patients treated

Slide 4

Severity of effects in surviving 73 patients

  • 4 patients had catastrophic effects

  • 16 marked effects and high risk for future

  • 26 not severe at that time

  • 22 no effect of significance at that time

  • 2 underexposed patients (radiotherapy was discontinued)

  • 3 could not be seen

Slide 5

Findings of IAEA team in July 1997

  • 42 patients died by July 1997 (10 months after exposure)

  • 7 deaths primarily due to overexposure

  • 22 deaths not related to the overexposure

  • 13 insufficient data

Slide 6

Findings of IAEA mission in Oct 1998

  • 61 patients died by Oct 1998

    (25 months after exposure)

  • 13 deaths primarily due to overexposure

  • 4 possibly related to overexposure

  • 35 death not related to overexposure

  • 9 insufficient data

Slide 7

Permanent epilation (high risk for brain necrosis)

Slide 8

Effects on the skin

  • severe erythema in the sacral region

Slide 9

Brain necrosis and paralysis

  • lethargy, ataxy

  • dementia

  • leuko-enceophalopathy

  • cerebral necrosis

  • deafness

  • paralysis (myelopathy)

  • spinal cord changes

Slide 10

Cause and prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals

  • Significant overdoses or underdoses (errors exceeding 10% of prescribed dose) result in unacceptable severe consequences

  • Doses administered in fewer than normal sessions but with higher doses per treatment result in excessive number of early and late complications

Slide 11

Distribution of expected radiation effects from standard radiotherapy protocols and clinical examinations of the surviving patients, %

Slide 12

Prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals

  • Regulations should cover training and competence required to deal with potentially hazardous radiotherapy sources

  • Specific training of staff should be provided before they work in a radiotherapy unit

Slide 13

Prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals

  • Calibration of radiotherapy devices should be done by appropriately trained persons and independently checked

  • When there is a high incidence and severity of acute side effects during radiotherapy treatment, further treatment should be stopped and the source calibration immediately checked

Slide 14

Prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals

  • In radiotherapy accidents, the tumour dose may not be the parameter of primary interest

  • Often the biologically equivalent 2 Gy per fraction dose to radiosensitive organs, e.g. intestine, spinal cord and heart, more important

Slide 15

Prevention of radiation accidents in hospitals

  • Early and reliable information and clear communication crucial to good management of radiation accidents

  • Radiotherapy records should be uniform, clear, consistent and complete

  • Use defence-in-depth methodology to test and ensure that quality assurance programme has sufficient safety layers to make accidents very unlikely

Slide 16

Lessons learned Recommendations

  • Define responsibilities, develop procedures and supervise compliance

  • Implement, monitor and enforce existing regulations as soon as possible

Slide 17

Lessons learned Recommendations

  • Establish and foster safety culture and provide education and training

  • Implement additional educational programmes for radiotherapy staff

Slide 18

Lessons learnedRecommendations

  • Implement quality assurance and record keeping programme

  • Include

    • verification of physical arrangements and clinical aids (patients’ charts) used in treatment

    • verification of appropriate calibration and conditions of operation of dosimetry equipment

Slide 19

Lessons learned Recommendations

  • regular and independent quality audit reviews of programme

  • participation in intercomparison exercises such as IAEA-WHO postal dose check service

  • procedures to take action if deviation found


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