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The X-ray was first used by the medical community over 100 years ago. To this day, it continues to serve as one of the most important diagnostic tools available to physicians, surgeons, dentists, veterinarians, and other clinicians.
The X-ray is so invaluable because it enables medical care providers to look “inside” a patient’s body without making a single incision. Multiple views of a patient’s internal body structures provide physicians with critical information necessary to diagnose and treat patients accordingly.
These views are procured by aiming a condensed, narrow beam of X-ray radiation at the target body area and quickly “snapping a picture,” which is then projected and recorded onto a film or a little detector digitally linked to a viewer (e.g., computer monitor). The resulting image is available for interpretation almost instantly.
Degree of Exposure
Almost everyone is exposed to X-ray radiation at some point in life (via dental X-rays, chest X-rays, sports injury X-rays, etc.). When these X-rays are administered properly, a patient is exposed to a carefully-limited, relatively-low dose of radiation.
In large doses, however, radiation can be very dangerous – so much so that it is subject to governmental regulation.
If you believe you were overexposed to X-ray radiation in a Connecticut medical facility, contact our skilled X-ray malpractice legal team to help you review your legal rights.
Each state, including Connecticut, regulates the practice of medicine within its borders by implementing its own medical licensing guidelines. With each license granted, the state essentially places its trust in a physician that he or she will exercise professional discretion when deciding when and how much X-ray radiation is appropriate in a patient’s care.
Additionally, the State of Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) also plays a role in ensuring that X-ray exposure to patients and medical staff are at acceptably safe levels. The agency regulates everything from the number of X-rays a patient may receive in a year to the X-ray machine registration process.
The Hidden Dangers of Radiation Overexposure
You now know that the danger associated with a person’s overexposure to radiation is significant enough to warrant oversight by the government. The questions now become:
- How does someone become overexposed to X-ray radiation (also referred to as X-ray radiation overdose)?
- If someone does receive an X-ray radiation overdose, what happens?
Causes of X-Ray Radiation Overexposure: X-Ray Malpractice?
There are a number of people involved in the X-ray process. Typically, a patient’s treating physician orders the X-rays; technicians and medical staff administer the X-rays, and a radiologist and/or treating physician read and interpret the X-ray images.
During this process, the negligence of one or more members of the medical team can cause a patient’s X-ray radiation overdose. Specifically, a patient may become overexposed to X-ray radiation due to the following mistakes:
- Failure to place a lead cover over the patient to shield all or most parts of the body except for the X-ray target area
- Failure to set the correct dose of radiation before administering the X-ray
- Failure to decrease the radiation dose before administering an X-ray to a child
- Incorrectly calibrating the X-ray machine
- Improperly shielding the X-ray machine
- Improperly cleaning and/or maintaining the X-ray machine
- Improperly shielding the X-ray room
- Careless conduct
- And more
Injuries Caused by X-Ray Radiation Overexposure
If a patient is overexposed to X-ray radiation, he or she may suffer a number of possible injuries/side effects, including the following:
- Hair loss
- Organ failure
- Brain damage
- Development of cancerous tumors
Tough Legal Standards
One of the most complex, challenging, and sophisticated areas of law is medical malpractice litigation. In fact, the challenges begin before a lawsuit ever gets filed. This is in large part due to certain (additional) ethical obligations imposed upon lawyers.
Essentially, before an attorney can initiate a lawsuit on behalf of an injured client, Connecticut law mandates that the attorney first conducts a reasonable and thorough investigation to determine if, in good faith, a viable claim exists.
For the best chance at a favorable outcome in your X-ray malpractice case, you must hire an extensively experienced, successful attorney who specializes in these types of cases.
Important Considerations In Investigating an X-ray Malpractice Case
When investigating the viability of a potential case, our legal team conducts a thorough evaluation and analysis of many considerations:
- If the injured party can adequately show that the actions or inactions of the medical care provider fell short of the acceptable medical standard of care pertaining to X-ray administration, the injured party may have a viable claim for X-Ray malpractice.
- Conversely, if the medical care provider can show that his or her actions were in line with what other providers have done or would have done in the administration of X-rays in similar circumstances, an X-ray malpractice claim may not be viable.
- Expert medical opinions and testimony are necessary to establish the appropriate medical standard of care and how the medical provider’s actions compare.
- Not every overexposure to X-ray radiation that causes a patient’s injury rises to the level of X-ray malpractice. The malpractice exists only when a patient suffers injury because the defendant acted or failed to act in a way that fell short of the ever-important medical standard of care pertaining to X-ray administration.
- A medical care provider may be liable for X-ray malpractice only if there is a direct, causal connection between the overexposure and the patient’s specific harm/injury.
- In other words, an X-ray radiation overdose that does not directly cause a patient’s injury is not an instance X-ray malpractice.
- This may be the most difficult element to prove in an X-ray malpractice case:
- It requires proper, credible documentation that demonstrates the symptoms/injuries developed after the radiation exposure BUT within the “acceptable” time window after the exposure.
- In cases where the effects of overexposure to X-ray radiation do not surface for several months or years, proving the causal link between the two becomes even more difficult.
- Causation must be determined through expert medical opinion.
Don’t Be Discouraged – Contact Us Today
Our X-ray malpractice legal team is well-equipped to take on the challenge of an X-ray overexposure case. Our attorneys have decades of experience combines, helping clients recover financial compensation for their injuries. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of X-ray malpractice, you should speak with an experienced X-ray malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
The lawyers at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC are extensively experienced in this highly specialized area of law. Call (203) 487-5698 or send us an email to schedule an evaluation of your case.