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Another instance of VA medical malpractice!

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Texas Veteran’s Affairs medical malpractice lawyer educates-Department of Veterans Affairs cancer treatment program administered the wrong radiation dosages.

Texas Veteran’s Affairs medical malpractice lawyer alerts the Department of Veterans Affairs reported 6 additional cases of serious medical errors involving military veteran patients who received the wrong treatment for their cancer diagnosis. The patients were treated with the wrong dosages of radiation at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center in the brachytherapy cancer treatment program. According to the six new reported incidents by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) http://www.va.gov to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) http://www.nrc.gov/, 86 percent of the 114 patients (98 men) who received prostate cancer medical care in the brachytherapy treatment program received either too much or too little of radiation dosages.

According to Wikipedia http://www.wikipedia.org, brachytherapy is a medical treatment commonly used in localized prostate cancer patients where a radioactive source is placed inside or next to the cancerous area or tumor. Brachytherapy, a form of radiotherapy is also used in the treatment of cervical cancer and cancers of the head and neck. Doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancer with radioactive materials permanently implant 50 to 100 tiny radioactive seeds that emit radiation over a 10 month period in the hopes of eliminating the cancerous growth and stopping metastasis to other areas of the body. When a radiation seed is improperly implanted or the wrong dose is administered, the patient can suffer serious harm like overdosing of radiation leading to healthy, non-cancerous tissue and organ injury and death. Under dosing of radiation in the treatment of cancer may allow the malignancy to continue to grow and then spread to other tissues and organs in the body. According to various medical research studies, patients who receive the correct radiation therapy dosing have close to a 90 percent cancer cure rate.

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the federal government’s investigation into the Philadelphia VA Medical Center brachytherapy treatment program, which started in 2002, led to the shut down of the program in June 2008. The program was suspended after continued problems were identified at the VA cancer treatment center by the NRC after initial notification in May 2008. The following are some of the shocking findings by investigators and what have been reported to the House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations:

  • 6 veterans given seed implants in Philadelphia developed prostate cancer
  • 8 additional patients are being monitored for suspected failure of treatment based on their continued elevated PSA levels
  • Systemic problems and oversight failures by doctors, nurses, and VA hospital administrators
  • 23 patients at the VA hospital were treated without critical post-implant dosage calculations by doctors, pharmacists, and nurses
  • Only 16 patients treated in the entire program out of 114 were not deficient

Medical malpractice and negligence by careless or inadequately trained professionals and hospital staff can cause serious damages and injuries including death. When doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and the VA hospital or facility that employ them do not follow standards of practice required by law our nation’s active, inactive, and retired military personnel and their families suffer. The men and women who serve and have served our country in the armed forces deserve better. Contacting a Texas Veteran’s Administration medical malpractice attorney may help you and your family recover. According to the NRC there are only a total of 13 VA hospitals with a prostate treatment program in the United States. Four more programs have been suspended since the Philadelphia investigation began: Cincinnati, Ohio; Jackson, Mississippi; Los Angeles, California; and Washington, D.C.

Dallas Veteran’s Affairs medical malpractice education by Texas Veteran’s Affairs medical malpractice lawyer, Amy K. Witherite Phone: (214) 378-6665

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