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Medicine

Radiation Therapy Mistakes Cost Lives 215

jmtpi recommends a long NY Times investigative report about how powerful medical linear accelerators have contributed to at least two deaths in the New York area. Although the mistakes were largely due to human error, buggy software also played a role. "...the records described 621 mistakes from 2001 to 2008... most were minor... The Times found that on 133 occasions, devices used to shape or modulate radiation beams... were left out, wrongly positioned, or otherwise misused. On 284 occasions, radiation missed all or part of its intended target or treated the wrong body part entirely. ... Another patient with stomach cancer was treated for prostate cancer. Fifty patients received radiation intended for someone else, including one brain cancer patient who received radiation intended for breast cancer."

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