CT scans deliver much more radiation than previously thought, contributing to as many as 29,000 new cancers each year and as many as 15,000 deaths annually. CT scans expose patients to ionizing radiation, causing change at the cellular level. Overexposure may result in cancer and other injury. Patients also may suffer injury from the failure to perform a CT scan or a delay in ordering a scan, however, as the diagnostic benefits often outweigh the risks.
The disclosure of patient overexposure at several hospitals has prompted the recent filing of a number of lawsuits. The FDA announced on May 9, 2012 new efforts to protect children from unnecessary radiation exposure as part of its ongoing Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging.
It is critical for plaintiff and defense attorneys and in-house insurance and hospital professionals to understand CT scan liability.