Radiation Protection and Politics

A petition to reinstate the required administrative rule from the Texas Department of State Health Services, Bureau of Radiation Control is gaining momentum. This administrative rule was published and went through the regular ruled making process in 2012-2013. A similar rule has been implemented in California, Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Oregon. A recommendation to the nation for implementation of similar rules in every state is currently in committee at the National Council for Radiation Protection.

The purpose of the rule is to protect everyone who has a procedure that requires the use of fluoroscopy by a physician or someone under the physician’s direction.1  The rule requires any non-radiologist physician to obtain an 8 hour class and 1 hour hands-on training in fluoroscopic radiation safety.  This protects them and you. Think of all the colonoscopies you have had or will have, the surgeries, and procedures your children and grandchildren will have.  Did you know that physicians that are not radiologists or radiation oncologists get zero hours of radiation safety or radiation biology in school or in their residencies?  It’s true.  This training was a new requirement since 2013, but not yet enforced. The deadline for receiving this training was May, 2015. Some Texas physicians did it voluntarily, but one professional physician association called in a political favor and got it indefinitely suspended.  Politics are a horrible reason to jeopardize a human life.  We can do what we can by signing the petition to get it reinstated.  This is very important as the switch to digital equipment and electronic imaging increased the radiation dose significantly. The proliferation of imaging outside the radiology department has increased exponentially. These rules did not happen as a result of over regulation. All you must do to verify the “why”for the rules is to Google radiation overexposure cases and you will find the documented overexposures. Since most of the time, the overexposures are not reported out of the facility, the actual numbers of potential unreported overexposures is mind-blowing. Most of the time, the patient doesn’t even know it.  The patient assumes that the health care practitioner is properly prepared in all aspects of their care.  Not all physicians have opposed the training requirement. Many physicians are appalled by this lack of equipment training and have participated and validated how the training has improved their practice.  For the ones who just don’t understand how dangerous radiation can be, please sign this petition.

And I can’t even talk about the cancer induction risk. It is estimated that the in the United States, the population receives more medical radiation than any other country. We know that there is great danger in that and many radiation reduction programs such as Image Gently and Image Wisely are reaching out to radiation professionals to reduce exposure dose as much as possible. Fluoroscopy is that “movie” type x-ray that is “ON” for as long as the physician steps on the equipment switch..  It is often overused at the patient’s and everyone else’s (in the room) expense.  Thanks for helping and feel free to comment on the petition website if you want to help.

This is the hyperlink:

http://tinyurl.com/mwbgj99

petition pic

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