Radiation Patients Endanger Public, Congressman Says
The letter, addressed to NRC chairman Greg Jaczko, says that exposures are likely occurring "because NRC has failed to address these practices through the provision of clear guidance" to states with NRC agreements to use these materials.
"As a result, physicians fail to properly instruct patients, and these patients are then left with the impossible choice of exposing their family members or exposing strangers since inpatient stays are simply no longer viable options for most."
Exacerbating the issue, he wrote, is that the NRC has voted in 2000 and 2002 "not to even be informed when its licensees learn tha ta member of the public has received or is estimated to have received a dose exceeding 5 rem —a dose that is 10 times as high as NRC's own safe dose limits for released patients—from a patient who has been discharged from treatment with radioisotopes.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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