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Medical Physics Seminar – Monday, May 02, 2011

Is Medical Radiation Safe? Can It be Safer?

CAMERON SYMPOSIUM: William Hendee, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Biophysics and Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Over the past year articles have appeared in the news media describing patients injured, even killed, by human mistakes during the delivery of radiation treatments. Other articles have reported inaccurate calibrations of therapy equipment that have caused substantial overdoses with severe patient consequences. In medical imaging, articles have reported excessive doses from computed tomography, as well as imaging studies performed for reasons unrelated to the patient’s well-being. The causes of these problems are identifiable, but their solutions are less obvious, because they require humans to employ sophisticated procedures and interface with complex technology in ways that are different for each patient. Medical physicists are the individuals most suited to address the challenge of making medical radiation safer for patients. To do so effectively, however, raises questions about the education and experience requirements of medical physicists, as well as their roles in the clinical setting. Recent medical physics meetings entitled Summit on CT Dose: Optimization of Protocols and Safety in Radiation Therapy: A Call to Action identified several recommendations to improve patient safety in medical imaging and radiation therapy. These meetings concluded that most patients receive the benefits of medical radiation without adverse consequences, but one person injured by medical radiation is simply one person too many.

Location: 1325 (HSLC) Health Sciences Learning Center, 750 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705

Time: 4:00pm-5:00pm



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