A hospital in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, says that one of its radiographers had deliberately administered higher-than-recommended amounts of a radioactive substance during examinations of 84 children suffering from kidney ailments since 1999.
Kofu Municipal Hospital said the 54-year-old radiographer intravenously injected a test agent containing radioactive technetium-99m into children, aged 15 years and younger, between May 1999 and April this year, Fuji TV reported. The hospital said the amounts used often exceeded the dose recommended for adults by the Japan Society of Nuclear Medicine.
Technetium-99m, a metastable nuclear isomer of technetium-99, tends to concentrate in the kidneys and when intravenously administered, allowing clear images to be taken during X-rays. The radiographer reportedly told the hospital he knowingly gave higher doses of the test agent to the children so that clear images could be taken as quickly as possible, Fuji reported.
Of the 84 children, 41 were given amounts over 10 times the recommended dosage for their age group, the hospital said. According to guidelines set by the society, doctors should decide the amount of the test agent to be administered. However, hospital officials say the radiographer at Kofu Municipal Hospital had been determining the amount without consulting with other staff.
According to hospital director Katsura Ozawa, the children have not yet reported any health problems related to the radiation.
Police said Monday they are looking to see if there is a case for criminal charges.© Japan Today