Radiation Medical Events

Here at the medical center we strive to maintain the highest possible standards in the protection of our patients from improper application of any radiation source. Radiation usage in medicine has provided great advances within the field, however improperly used radiation can be harmful, and therefore is highly regulated. A radiation medical event can occur when certain forms of radioactive sources (materials or devices), are applied differently from what was intended on a physicians’ prescription or written directive. When a suspected radiation medical event occurs a clinical health physicist works with the corresponding department to investigate the event and creates a report documenting their findings.

A medical event can take many different forms. City and federal regulations describes these scenarios exactly in the New York City Health Code, Article 175 - Radiation Control and NRC 10 CFR 35 – Medical Use of Byproduct. However, those regulatory scenarios can be long and highly technical, for simplicity below are some indicators that a medical event may have occurred, and which require further investigation.

  • Administration of the incorrect radionuclide to an individual
  • Administration of a radionuclide to the incorrect individual
  • Wrong route of administration of a radionuclide
  • A leaking radioactive sealed source used for brachytherapy
  • Delivered radiation dose values differing from that of the written directive by 20% or more
  • Radiation therapy delivered to the wrong body part
  • CT or CBCT to the wrong individual
  • CT or CBCT to the wrong body part
  • CT or CBCT resulting in damage to the body
  • Any radiation intervention resulting in permanent functional damage to the body

Radiation Safety must be notified immediately when a medical event is suspected.