Congress sets hearing to review medical radiation

2009 03 25 14 14 33 939 Capitol Hill 70

The recent spate of adverse incidents regarding medical radiation overdoses has prompted the U.S. House of Representatives to schedule hearings on the topic. Mother Nature may take precedence, however, as Washington, DC, awaits another snowstorm that may shut down the nation's capital for the second time in a week.

Titled "Medical Radiation: An Overview of the Issues," the hearing was originally scheduled for February 10 in the Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on health. has confirmed that representatives from at least five major professional associations have been invited to testify:

  • American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), College Park, MD -- president Michael G. Herman, Ph.D., president of the AAPM
  • American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), Fairfax, VA -- Dr. Tim R. Williams, chairman
  • American College of Radiology (ACR), Reston, VA -- speaker not yet specified
  • American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), Albuquerque, NM -- Sandra Hayden, member of the ASRT board of directors
  • Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA), Arlington, VA -- Dave Fisher, managing director

Neither the offices of Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), chairman of the subcommittee on health, nor the offices of the House Energy and Commerce Committee were open on February 8 to determine if the hearing will be rescheduled due to weather conditions in the nation's capital.

Medical radiation from both diagnostic and therapeutic sources has come under scrutiny in recent months. The New York Times last month ran a series of articles on errors in radiation therapy procedures, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year published a series of alerts regarding patient overdoses at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

In addition, several studies published in 2009 have described the increase in radiation exposure from medical sources that Americans have received.

By Cynthia E. Keen staff writer
February 8, 2010

Related Reading

ASTRO commits to patient protection plan, February 4, 2010

Second NY Times article highlights radiation therapy errors, January 29, 2010

ASTRO, ACR publish joint guidelines for radiation therapy, January 29, 2010

NY Times article details radiation therapy errors, January 26, 2010

FDA finds new cases of radiation overexposure, December 7, 2009

Copyright © 2010

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