In expanding radiation overdose probe, Cedars-Sinai agrees to pay for care

As though a class-action lawsuit wasn't difficult enough, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is facing a growing public relations problem in the wake of more than 200 cases in which patients received radiation overdoses from CT scans. While the class-action seems to be dead on arrival, if experts are any indication, Cedars-Sinai faces significant challenges in restoring its image and more importantly, finding out how such a problem could have slipped through the cracks.

In September, the medical center concluded that over the previous 18 months, 206 patients had received high doses of radiation during CT scans of the brain. Execs have since found 54 more cases, bringing the total to 260. About 20 percent of those patients received doses directly to the lenses of their eyes, which can put them at higher risk for cataracts.

The hospital has sent out letters to everyone they'd identified--other than the 47 patients who have since died due to what the execs say were unrelated causes--and offered to pay for any care associated with the overdoses. This isn't doing anything to slow down news reports on the aftermath of the slip-up, which continues to receive national coverage.

Hospital leaders say the accidental overdoses took place when the facility reconfigured a scanner. The changes only affected patients who underwent CT brain perfusion scans used to diagnose strokes. Unfortunately, the problems resulting from the February 2008 changes weren't discovered until August 2009.

To learn more about how the medical center is coping:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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