Radiation Dosing Errors at Philadelphia VA Hospital Put Veterans at Risk | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

An ongoing investigation of improper prostate cancer treatments at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Philadelphia has revealed that nearly all of the men who underwent a radiotherapy procedure received doses that either did them no good or caused potential harm. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that cases of under- and overdosing radiation for veterans continue to be discovered more than a year after the problem first came to light.

Poor quality care at VA hospitals has made national headlines repeatedly over the past several years. The VA itself has even called its provision of mental health care services into question. Most recently, a Miami VA hospital put thousands of patients at risk for hepatitis and HIV/AIDS by failing to disinfect colonoscopy equipment.

Comparatively, the medication errors at the Philadelphia VA hospital may seem minimal. However, dosing errors are serious. When the dose involves radiation, mistakes can prove deadly. My colleagues and I have made these points often, and the release a couple of weeks ago of a series of medical and surgical errors reports on the Web site Dead By Mistake indicated the scope of the problem was broader than anyone may have realized.

When a doctor, surgeon, nurse or pharmacist harms a patients, there is no such thing as a small error.

About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the Northeast North Carolina (NC) border. Lawyers with the firm practice primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handle injury law cases, including car, truck and railroad accidents, medical negligence cases, and more. The firm’s website is hsinjurylaw.com. Lawyers with Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan also edit the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard and have compiled a video library covering many FAQs on personal injury subjects. The firm’s lawyers are licensed in VA, NC, SC, WV, DC and KY.