Brain scans disaster at celebrity hospital

Patients given eight times the normal radiation dose

With a patients' roll call that reads like an Oscars' party guest list, Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre is used to making the headlines. But the hospital has found itself making them for the wrong reasons this weekend after it admitted exposing more than 200 of its patients to excessively high doses of radiation from CT brain scans.

The hospital to the stars is under federal investigation following the debacle, which went undetected for 18 months. Patients receiving CT brain scans, used to diagnose strokes, were given eight times the normal dose of radiation in incidents dating back to February 2008, the hospital admitted yesterday.

All 206 patients affected have been alerted – although around 80 already suspected something was wrong after their hair started falling out. Officials at Cedars-Sinai said they became aware of the problem in August after a patient who had received a scan noticed an unexpected loss of hair, which should not have happened. All hospitals in the US have now been urged to review their safety protocols for CT scans, and California's Department of Health is investigating the overdoses.

Past patients at Cedars-Sinai include the great and good of Hollywood, from Frank Sinatra to River Phoenix. Numerous stars have given birth there, including Judy Garland, Madonna and Christina Aguilera, while Heidi Klum had her fourth child there last week.

It is not the first time that Cedars-Sinai has found itself at the centre of a scandal. Two years ago, the lives of twins newly born to the actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, were endangered after they were given 1,000 times the intended dose of a blood thinner. State regulators later fined the hospital $25,000 (£15,600) for safety lapses involving the twins and another child. The Quaids sued the hospital, settling the case for $750,000.

It is not clear what caused the radiation overdoses. A spokesman for the US Food and Drug Administration said it was looking into whether the fault lay with the scan machine itself or the hospital's procedures.

CT scans are common in the US. Doctors order the scans as standard procedure to reveal whether a patient has suffered a stroke, which blocks the flow of blood to brain tissue. The amount of information that doctors get from a scan depends on the quantity of radiation that is used. Very high doses of radiation can cause poisoning and lead to cancer years or even decades later.

Although the hospital briefly stopped administering the CT brain perfusion scans, it is now offering them again. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the hospital could face restrictions on doing CT scans under its state licence.

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there