Medical professionals use radiation as part of diagnostic testing and treatment of various types of cancer. Overexposure or the improper administration of radiation can have immediate harmful effects as well as long-term health consequences. Medically compromised patients can find themselves in a much worse condition because of negligent radiation treatments.
If a doctor’s mistakes in treating you or a loved one with radiation exposure caused serious injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced Maryland radiation burn injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 431-0911 today to schedule a free consultation.
Increased Use of Dangerous Radiation Treatments
The use of radiation has increased in medical treatments. People are familiar with X-rays and understand that chemotherapy and radiation are part of treating cancer. What may not be widely known is that MRI tests also use radiation – ionized radiation – to produce their images. Exposure to radiation is dangerous, and negligence on the part of doctors or hospital staff can greatly increase the risk to patients.
In cancer treatments, radiation is administered externally or internally to destroy genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. The goal is to kill the cancerous cells while limiting the damage to healthy cells. Excessive radiation can kill a substantial amount of healthy cells, causing immediate or long-term health problems for the patient, or it can strengthen the treated cancer cells.
“Contamination” and “incorporation” are two types of radiation errors. Contamination of the skin or skin occurs when radiation sits on the outside of your body after therapy. A common cause of this is administering radiation to the wrong area of the body or failing to properly shield the surrounding areas. Incorporation is the absorption of radiation by the body’s tissue or organs, usually through overexposure or the wrong dosage of radiation.
Common Causes of Injuries from Radiation Burns in Maryland
Radiation is inherently dangerous and requires a proper level of care for safe administration. Errors can occur throughout the process, leading to improper administration because of any of the following errors:
- Undertrained or inexperienced radiation technicians
- Radiation applied to the incorrect area (either externally or surgically)
- Improper or inadequate shielding of the patient
- Radiation applied for an excessive amount of time
- Radiation applied for an excessive number of treatments
- Defective equipment or software dispensing the radiation
- Improperly calibrated or maintained equipment
- Inaccurate or miscalculated dosage
- Failure to properly supervise or review the patient’s medical history
There is an increase in some hospitals improperly using equipment to administer radiation. “Stereotactic radiosurgery” is used to treating precise areas of the body with radiation. To save costs, hospitals might modify linear accelerators used to target large areas of the body instead of using the proper equipment. Dangerously high levels of radiation or inaccurately placed doses can stem from these cost-cutting measures.
Injuries Caused by Radiation Burns or Overexposure
Individuals exposed to too much radiation will often suffer headaches, fever, nausea, dizziness, hair loss, fatigue, and lowered blood pressure as well as vomiting and visible skin burns. Long-term symptoms could include worsening cancer or the development of additional forms of cancer. If these injuries are a result of negligent conduct or malpractice, the responsible parties can be held accountable. Victims are often entitled to compensation for physical, emotional, or mental harm as well as additional medical expenses or loss of income.
Suing for Radiation Burn Injuries Caused By Medical Malpractice in Maryland
Proving a medical malpractice claim for radiation burn injuries requires proving a breach of the standard of care which directly caused the injury. While fault is often directly attributable to human error, it can also lie elsewhere.
Human error is the highest cause of radiation burn injuries. For example, a technician can administer an inaccurate dosage of radiation or an oncologist can miscalculate the prescribed dosage. Furthermore, the medical personnel who calibrate or maintain the equipment can be at fault if they failed to do their job properly.
The cause of the injury may alternatively be attributed to parties outside of the medical staff. The manufacturer of the radiation equipment can be at fault if the equipment is defective or poorly designed. Likewise, the software developer may be at fault if there is a coding error that causes inaccurate readings or calibrations.
If you have suffered radiation burn injuries, it is important to call a Maryland radiation burn injury attorney immediately. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Maryland is five years from the date of the injury or three years from the discovery of the injury, whichever is earlier. Failing to file within this deadline might mean losing your right to sue for damages altogether.
Call a Maryland Radiation Burn Injury Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation
Radiation burns and overexposure to radiation are painful with serious short-term and long-term consequences, potentially resulting in death. If you or a family member is suffering from an injury due to radiation burns or overexposure, call our Maryland radiation burn injury attorneys. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice have years of experience handling medical malpractice claims and are ready to help you get compensated for your radiation burn injuries. Call (410) 431-0911 today to schedule a free consultation.