Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Pennsylvania radiotherapy accident, 1992

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 26 October 2008

Date: 16-21 November 1992

Location: Indiana Regional Cancer Center, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA

Type of event: radiotherapy accident


An 82-year-old female patient was undergoing brachytherapy, a type of radiotherapy, at the Indiana Regional Cancer Center. A 3.7-curie iridium-192 source was dislodged from equipment and accidentally left in the patient; this went unrecognized since the staff failed to perform required checks to secure sources. The patient was returned to the nursing home and died 93 hours later due to the radiation injury from the embedded source. The catheter containing the source was removed by the nursing home staff and disposed of as medical waste. The waste disposal company discovered the source during routine checks for radioisotopes. The ensuing Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigation concluded that exposures of 0.034 to 2.57 rem were incurred by 94 individuals, including clinic staff, nursing home staff, nursing home residents and visitors, and waste disposal company employees.

Consequences: 1 fatality.


© 2004-2007, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 26 October 2008.
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