Volume 4, No. 3 • Fall 1989

Radiation Hazards; Protocols

John B. Stetson, M.D.

To the Editor

The June 1988, APSF Newsletter contained a question concerning conduct during x-ray or fluoroscopy. Dr. Jene notes ….. protected area a few feet from the patient.” Please define “a few feet.” During angiography, CAT scan, etc., there is a crowd behind the shield. You might check with your radiology safety officer regarding lead aprons or portable shields during some high energy procedures. With some equipment I gather there can be a bit of spread and bounce in the rays.

The next question to be addressed concerns tumor high energy bombardment. How many and what monitors are essential? How many TV cameras are necessary? Offer suggestions for protocols for shutting down the therapy unit so the chamber can be entered (perhaps they were pulling my leg, but I can remember the radiologists telling me that the unit would be damaged if suddenly “switched off”).

As a side issue or question, there is the problem of moving a sick patient, under anesthesia, with abdomen open, after a debulking, from the operating room to the bombardment unit. How many hospitals have the luxury of having the unit near the O.R. and on the same floor? Perhaps minimum conditions should be established to remove the pressure from anesthesiologists who are forced to perform under conditions that are dangerous because “that’s the way it is here”.

John B. Stetson, M.D. Adjunct Professor Purdue University

Editor’s Note: Replies and suggestions in response to Dr. Stetson are welcome.