Earlier in the year, a New York Times article called “Radiation Offers New Cures, and Ways to Do Harm” was published. Below is an excerpt:
As Scott Jerome-Parks lay dying, he clung to this wish: that his fatal radiation overdose — which left him deaf, struggling to see, unable to swallow, burned, with his teeth falling out, with ulcers in his mouth and throat, nauseated, in severe pain and finally unable to breathe — be studied and talked about publicly so that others might not have to live his nightmare.-New York Times (link)
It tells the story of a patient, Mr. Jerome-Parks who died due to errors in the complex programming for the precision radiation equipment used, that caused him to be given more radiation than prescribed in areas where radiation was not needed.
While the article is lengthy, I encourage you to read through it. It is a thought-provoking and saddening incident that shows what happens when mistakes are made, and it’s recommended here not to frighten, but to show the many variables that are a part of patient care. Mr. Jerome-Parks death caused two of his medical caretakers to retire or stop seeing patients, and while radiation overdoses are a far less publicized medical mishap, it is important to note and remember (when we are hopefully all doctors), just how dangerous and subjective many everyday treatments are, and to treat them as such.
Please leave comments below on your thoughts on the article, etc.