[ RadSafe ] Poisoned by radiation overdose

Fred Dawson fd003f0606 at blueyonder.co.uk
Sat Feb 11 12:33:35 CST 2006

Here is a news report which gives details


Fred Dawson
New Malden
Surrey. KT3 5BP

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "NIXON, Grant" <Grant.NIXON at mdsinc.com>
To: "RADSAFE" <radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 9:26 PM
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] Poisoned by radiation overdose

I was in the UK on business when the story broke. I saw video of the
burns, etc. and heard reporters talk of her having "so much radiation in
her that ...." As with most radiation accidents, there are many false
statements made on the subject.

At any rate, it is unclear what the actual treatment dose level was for
each of the 17 treatments. Has anyone been able to quantify this? Were
all treatments performed using different beam entry points? Etc.

Grant Nixon

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Susan Gawarecki
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 2:04 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Poisoned by radiation overdose

Poisoned by radiation overdose
February 2006

After months of gruelling treatment for a brain tumour, Lisa Norris was
looking forward to her new life. Although still in pain, the 15-year-old

schoolgirl had been given the all clear by cancer doctors. But - just
days later - she was plunged into unimaginable despair when they told
her she had been given massive overdoses of radiation.

The appalling blunder has left her body red, blistered and so burned
that she has to take frequent cold showers to cool down. The pain makes
it impossible to sleep and she now worries how long she has left to
live. The hospital said "human error" had led to Lisa being given
overdoses at each of her 17 scheduled radiotherapy sessions.

"I've been told I could be brain damaged, could be paralysed and in ten
to 15 years I might not be here, I could die," she said last night. "I
could have a scar on my head or brain which can lead to strokes, heart
attacks and whatever else. "I don't know what is going to happen to me,
it could happen in the next six months to a year. We just don't know
what is going to happen. "I've got burns on the back of my neck and ears

and they're starting to blister. "I can't sleep because I can't lie on
my back. I can't really do much, my mum has to help me put my clothes

The hospital has apologised and said the five staff involved were
distraught. But Lisa and her family want them all sacked. "I'm really
angry with them, they shouldn't be able to get away with it," said Lisa,

from Girvan, Ayrshire. "By rights, they should be put out of their jobs
and not allowed to work in the NHS ever again because it could happen to

somebody else."

Only this week, Health Service chiefs revealed a catalogue of medical
blunders that included a woman wrongly being given a hysterectomy.

Lisa was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour five months ago after
suffering headaches, blurred vision and tiredness for more than a year.
Doctors at Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow said she had pineoblastoma

which affects fewer than 100 Britons. The tumour is hard to treat
because it is located in the centre of the brain. After chemotherapy,
which made her hair fall out, Lisa was told radiotherapy was needed to
shrink the tumour.

She had 17 courses of radiation and last week was told the tumour had
gone. Lisa, her parents, Kenneth and Elizabeth, and brother Andrew, 12,
were delighted. But then they were told by telephone that two
consultants were coming to see them. "We knew something was wrong," said

Mrs Norris, 49. "You never hear of consultants visiting your house, so
alarm bells were ringing."

Her husband, a 50-year-old joiner, said: "It just knocked us for six.
We've not been able to sleep a night since. If they can do this to Lisa,

they can do this to anyone." A friend said the schoolgirl had been
trying to stay upbeat and was the only member of the family not to have
cried. "Lisa is the most bubbly person you would ever meet," she said.
"She says she's not going to let it get her down. She's being so strong
about it."

A full inquiry is under way to find out why the routine procedure at the

oncology centre went so wrong. Professor Alan Rodger, the centre's
medical director, said: "My colleagues and I deeply regret the error
that has led to Lisa Norris being given an overdose of radiation during
her course of treatment. "The staff involved with his isolated incident
are extremely distraught. "Initial meetings have taken place with Lisa
and her family and we will do everything in our power to support them in

the challenges ahead."

The inquiry is being conducted by the Department of Health and the
radiation protection division of the UK Health Protection Agency. It has

not yet emerged how the wrong dose of radiation was administered 17
times. But it is thought that the wrong level was given on Lisa's first
session and then repeated because it was written in the notes with no
one spotting that it was too high.

Beatson is the second largest cancer centre in the UK and has a global
reputation. It treats 8,000 new patients each year delivering more than
15,000 courses of chemotherapy and 6,500 courses of radiotherapy. It is
based on three sites in Glasgow and the overdose was given at the
Western Infirmary. When radiotherapy is given, experts calibrate the
machines to ensure the right dose has been prescribed and checks are
made throughout the procedure.

Martin Ledwick, of Cancer Research UK, said: "Obviously as a health
professional working with cancer patients for a number of years I was
very shocked and surprised that this happened as I'm aware of all the
checks that are in place to avoid this sort of mistake being made." The
hospital would not say whether it had suspended the staff involved.

Cancer experts said it may be many months before doctors can work out
the impact of the mistake. Lisa, who now has schooling at home, is
having an MRI brain scan in three weeks to start this assessment

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