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Comprehensive safety checks 'could reduce radiation mistakes'

Wednesday 3rd August 2011
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Radiotherapy errors could be greatly reduced through the implementation of a combination of existing safety checks, researchers have found.

A Johns Hopkins team studied information on 4,000 'near miss' events with radiotherapy at two hospitals and narrowed the data to 290 events in which the errors, had they not been prevented at the time, could have caused serious harm to patients.

While there are many sophisticated options available, according to researchers, relatively low-tech checks such as reviewing patient charts by both physicians and radiation-physicists are one of the major keys to safety.

Researcher Eric Ford said: "While clinicians in this field may be familiar with these quality assurance procedures, they may not have appreciated how effective they are in combination."

This follows news that stem cell therapy could be used to return cognition in some patients with who have undergone radiation therapy, according to a paper published in journal Cancer Research.

Written by James Puckle

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