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Re: Contamination from Nuc Med patients

The Health Physics Professional should always practice ALARA, even in
situations where regulators provide an OK for our activities.  The Nucmed
patient you describe could pose a significant hand contamination problem
for staff who are unknowlingly contaminated.  At our institution we
emphasize this in annual training for the hospital staff.  We inform the
staff of the possibility of such accidents and the minimal risk involved if
proper procedures are followed.  Our approach is to emphasize blood born
pathogen precautions when any body fluid exposure is possible.  Such
procedures are sufficient to preclude skin contaminations from these
procedures, and equating this radiological exposure to blood born exposures
helps in reducing the fear of radiation overall.   We also perform
radiation surveys of all trash leaving the facility to avoid setting off
the local trash incinerator radiation alarms from nuclear medicine patient

Kenneth Price, RSO, MPH,CHP
University of Connecticut Health Center
Farmington, Conn