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Cancer made tougher: Botched radiation therapy

Cancer is a tough battle to beat. Anyone who chooses the route of radiation therapy knows that treatment makes the process ten times harder. While radiation therapy is difficult enough some patients suffer long term effects from mistreatment. When a mistake is made a patient can receive too much or too little radiation which will have severe consequences.

Negligent radiation therapy is underreported

While radiation has created a path to more accurately beat cancer, it gives new possibilities for mistakes from programming, software, and human error. Radiation therapy is especially risky because of the number of steps and staff involved. You need a physicist, an oncologist, a dosimetrist, and a radiation therapy technician to work together to create a plan for a patient. They must balance a strong enough dose to target a site while trying not to overdose the rest of the body.

Radiation treatment plans are much more complex these days and we are often too trusting in them. Although cases of known negligent radiation treatment are rare, the accidents that do happen often go underreported. A recent incident of widespread negligent oversight in treatment plans has brought radiation treatment under the microscope.

Numerous victims of botched radiation therapy are coming forward

Numerous cases of negligent radiation therapy have been noted at the St. Cloud Hospital in Minnesota. Botched therapy sessions for under- and over-radiating patients have left several with injuries. One woman discovered over-radiation after it was too late, being left with noticeable burns on her neck, jaw, ear and shoulder. She has now lost mobility in her arm. Other patients are reporting healthy tissue damaged by negligent sessions. One patient has lost her ability to walk because the radiation targeted healthy spinal tissue.

Lawsuits are expected to grow to 17 by the end of the year. Patients are suing the center, CentraCare Heath System and Dr. Barbi Kaplan-Frenkel. The allegations have brought public scrutiny upon the center, which will be inspected early next year. CentraCare Health System is making moves to remove all personnel with leadership roles in the radiation oncology department, including Dr. Kaplan-Frenkel.

The fight is not over for those suffering injuries

When patients are already suffering from cancer treatment, the life altering side effects of negligent radiation therapy can be devastating. While compensation cannot fix the damage that has been done, it is important to hold negligent personnel responsible for their actions. Affected patients can seek the help of an attorney to prove that a hospital did not provide adequate care for their patients.

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