X-rays have been an extremely vital diagnostic tool in the medical field since their invention– the ability to see the internal structure of an individual is of utmost importance in providing medical assistance and care. The only downfall is x-rays use radiation to produce images, all types of which are dangerous in high enough doses. The amount of exposure a patient receives to x-rays is meant to be meticulously regulated.
Limitations on Radiation Exposure
On top of avoiding x-ray exposure as much as possible themselves, doctors are also expected to limit the amount of exposure a patient receives. This is regulated by law; there is a maximum number of x-rays a patient can have taken in a year, and a limit on the amount of radiation in total a patient can receive. This doesn’t mean there aren’t sometimes slip-ups– occasionally, it does occur that patients are exposed to more than the legal limit, allowing for the possibility of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Overexposure: How and What
Accidental overexposure can happen many different ways, including clumsily shielded x-ray machines, inadequately shielded procedure rooms and negligence on the part of the x-ray technician or other hospital staff. Because of this, it can be challenging to pinpoint where exactly the overexposure occurred, complicating medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, radiation overdose comes with severe symptoms, including possible organ failure and cancerous tumor growth. X-ray overexposure can cause radiation sickness, which includes such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, dizziness, fatigue, hair loss, bloody vomit and stools, infections, low blood pressure, and poor wound healing. Seek medical attention immediately and return regularly, and record all your symptoms if you think you have experienced overexposure.
Making a Case: Burden of Proof
It’s necessary that patients seeking to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit by suspecting radiation overdose realize that they are subject to the burden of proof. It falls on the patient to convincingly argue that their x-ray overexposure was directly caused by a doctor or x-ray technician’s negligence or another person’s deliberate actions.
If the patient can acquire proof of negligence that holds up in a court of law, they have to show then that the x-ray overexposure they were given caused obvious damage. For example, dental or cranial x-ray overdoses may come with symptoms like hair loss, headaches or migraines, delirium, brain damage, and even cancer.
Meticulous record keeping is critical here, as it will show the timing of symptoms about exposure. If symptoms are first exhibited after exposure to radiation, but during a particular period following the suspected overdose, the patient may have a case. This is because radiation dissipates over time, and natural development of symptoms after some time cannot be attributed to X-ray overexposure. The specific window depends on the type of radiation, the severity of the exposure, and the location of the exposure. A medical expert will be required to affirm that the reported symptoms could have been due to radiation overdose.