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84 children injected with radioactive substance at Kofu hospital

51 Comments

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.

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51 Comments
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The legacy of Unit 731 is alive and well, I see. Why isnt this individual being charged with attempted murder, or criminal negligence?

4 ( +9 / -4 )

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,

I'm speechless. Someone get rid of him, quick!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The radiation limit would have been set on the cautious side for sure, so if he went a little over it probably wouldn't have been a problem- it probably would've been more risky on their health to not have clear images.

However 10 times the allowable amount sounds completely unjustifiable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And.......what is the action to be taken by the hospital?

Is the radiographer still in employment ?

Why didn't the hospital have a system whereby this could be checked?

I am sure that when the hospital had to reorder the disclosing material that it was flagged-but only then

Have the children been advised not to eat food from radioactively contaminated areas??????????

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan and radiation, why can't we get some good news from this pairing from time to time?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

WOW, TEPCO is really covering this up. Their lawyers are working overtime. Okay so any radiation detected in these children was not related to TEPCO.

Damage control at it's finest.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

NetNinja, not only would it be completely impossible to fabricate this story with so many people involved, but Yamanashi prefecture is not even remotely near the fukushima disaster- It's further away than tokyo. Please put your paranoia away.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Dude seemed to rely on "education of his own" instead of actual education with regards to radiation. Hmm, why does that sound so familiar...?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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,

I am too stunned to comment. it's just sick, to think the test was the priority and not the patient.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not only this radiographer should loose his job, he should also loose his license and possibly be charged for medical negligence and malpractice.

So much sloppiness in the hospital procedures in many local hospitals around here. Every time I have to go to the hospital/clinic, I can see at least one breach of procedure or non respect of good medical practices, for example:

no respect for medical secrecy in one clinic (the nurse talks about the case with a family next to other patients)

a doctor that originally refuses to sign the additional medical booklet for my son (I try to fill both the Japanese and the foreign booklet to keep up to date with vaccinations and medical consultations)

a doctor that basically says that he doesn't want foreigners in his ladies clinic (when we were looking for a suitable maternity for my pregnant wife, instead we went to a very nice local private hospital, quite cheap too)

consultations that last only 1 to 2 minutes for my son, the doctor barely checking anything

a total lack of hygiene in a private kids clinic (we stopped going there) and in the local public hospital at the child emergency room (dirty floor and walls with an amazing amount of dust and various consumables stocked in cardboards on the floor)

etc...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

and why did it take so long for someone to notice this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know if I should be devastated hearing such sad news or be happy that a news site brings it to us.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Police said Monday they are looking to see if there is a case for criminal charges.

Why am I not surprised by THIS? The keystones are a major disgrace to this country!!! I'm so deeply ashamed!! They are no more better than the kempeitai... FFS

Smithinjapan say something! Somebody...?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The guy probably wanted clear images for his own research.

I am inclined to agree with goinggoinggone above...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My brother died at the age of 6 (a long, long time ago) from thyroid cancer caused by too much exposure to x-rays for surgery he had to have as an infant. Children are really, really sensitive to the effects of so much of the testing needed to diagnose and treat certain conditions. There's a reason the limits are in place, and it's because the best medical thinking says that any more exposure is dangerous. The sad part is my brother was within those limits at the time and still got sick.

I hope none of these kids will get sick due to the criminal negligence of this asshat.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The guy should loose his present job and his license, as well as his permission to ever work again with people, especially kids.

He might sell tickets to people in the local cinema but no more "people-work" that that level.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

pawatan, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. His example makes it clear to me now just how cavalier this 'radiographer' was...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is better to use hospitals only when it is absolutely necessary. I agree with Piglet about the secrecy, that annoys me too. What is even worse is this sort of second waiting room, just separated by a curtain behind which the doc is treating you. You can absolutely hear everything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wont comment on the obviously criminal actions of the technician...

But as we have already the precedent it actually can be used for the good of mankind. That hospital have to pay to those families and monitor the children in their lifetime. Researchers have to bring to light if those higher dosages have had any impact in long term (not just currently as they try to slip). It might sound insensitive but it is a big chance for the science to discover link and time-span of diseases related to radiation induction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I swear I read this news somewhere already... Last month.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This 54 year old doctor should know better, he needs to be fired, and ARRESTED! Poor children out there in Yamanashi being used as guinea pigs?? This is not right, I hope the parents suit the heck out of this hospital.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hey Piglet, where in this horrible hospital?? Is it here in Tokyo??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For a country that was bombed twice with nuclear weapons, Japanese sure are wonton when it comes to the dangers of radiation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This story was published by other news outlets at the beginning of September.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That seems to happen a lot here Zichi.

The guy should have been found out a long time ago. Don't they keep and inventory count?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Elbuda MexicanoOct. 17, 2011 - 11:24AM JST

I think the point is it either didn't deter him or he knew he can do it , maybe be cause he got the approvement or even order from his superior and as the hierarchic power mechanism works perfectly the doc is covering his boss @.s.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Holy smoke! I am stunned! This went on for over ten years? Why didn't the hospital admin pick up on so much being used?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ DisillusionedOct. "Holy smoke! I am stunned! This went on for over ten years? Why didn't the hospital admin pick up on so much being used?"

I agree!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a mongrel! I had one of those isotope tests on my heart.. Not pleasant and worrying enough at the recommended dose. Everyone always compares radiation from Dai Ichi with the isotopes in CT scans, xrays, dental xrays etc... Did you know that Japan uses higher doses of radiation in medicine than the norm in many other countries? The medical system here is very disappointing. I have swollen lymph nodes in my neck and the ENT doc has me on steroids saying I may have kikuchi disease which mainly affects young north east asian females. I am just praying it isn't lymphoma. After having an ER doc miss my heart attack I don't trust these jokers. I seriously think Thailand and Korea are more capable.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Police said Monday they are looking to see if there is a case for criminal charges

wow, shouldnt take too long.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hmmm, first and foremost, the guy broke rules and guidelines and should be punished.

Similarly, the article writer should take note of the paranoia created. The title (as at 14:12 on 10/17) says "84 children injected with radioactive substance at Kofu hospital". But they were supposed to be as part of the tests on their condition (and Patawan - deep sympathy for your brother - that is s tragic).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

another tragic story which first came to the public attention at the beginning of September which probably means the hospital knew about it at least one year ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hospitals are scientific research institutes? Take your children take your chance? They figure in the news regularly flouting basic sanitation rules, covering up deaths caused by viral infection or miss management just a basic lack of training and care. Training and care...let's not mention accountability! Uniforms are always well presented though. And got to love the cone of silence curtains, always appreciate hearing exactly what the person before me might have left behind.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This 54 year old radiographer is not licensed to practice medicine. Holy ****!

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20111016-00000035-jij-soci

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This 54 year old radiographer is not licensed to practice medicine. Holy ****!

He is a radiographer, not a doctor. The people taking X-Rays are there to do just that, then give the images over to experts for analysis.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

However you need a license to become a radiographer (which is not a license to practice medicine indeed)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No immediate health risks, people! Green Light!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I just hope this fruitcake doesn't end up working in the x-ray lab in my local hospital ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@gyouza

Don't to you have to be a doctor to administer a radioactive substance?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CrazyJoe, yes, and that is what the Police have charged him with, deciding the amount and administering it himself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What I meant to say was, the radiographer used his own judgement in determining the amount of radioactive substance that was administered to the children. Only a doctor can do that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What I meant to say was, the radiographer used his own judgement in determining the amount of radioactive substance that was administered to the children. Only a doctor can do that.

Not exactly correct, the guidelines are set by the ministry. The doctor requests the x-ray or other test, the radiographer executes and passes results back to doctor. You need to be certified to do this, but don't need to be a doctor. Same with anaesthetics too I believe. Doctor doesn't ask or say how much to use - just requests it to be done.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've met some radiologists/medical experts working in Japanese hospitals that don't have a University qualification. When I asked about licensing they were quite vague about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know what you mean. But in this case, he decided the amount to be administered by himself. The doctors are supposed to do this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@CrazyJoe

What I meant to say was, the radiographer used his own judgement in determining the amount of radioactive substance that was administered to the children. Only a doctor can do that.

WTF?!?! Had the children been one of mine, the 54 year old would have been laying under my tatami floor as I'm typing this. Justice? Not such thing in this country. When it comes to my children, I don't know what I'd be capable of... Period.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with you BlueWitch.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Darren, keep us posted about those swollen lymph glands. I have had the same for weeks. Thought it went away and now its back, but going away again.

As for the radiologist, I could see locking him away for a very long time in a prison, or mental health facitlity, which is deemed appropriate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Police said Monday they are looking to see if there is a case for criminal charges

Where are they looking? In the filing cabinet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, this news is not in the crime section, so relax everybody!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I agree with piglet and jan. He should totally loose his job. Loosen it right up, just as slack as he can.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quote: "According to guidelines set by the society, (Japan Society of Nuclear Medicine) doctors should decide the amount of the test agent to be administered."

Whatever that means, this should be a clear test case to make sure no-one else does the same thing, ever again.

The guy often exceeded the amount recommended for adults and in half the cases gave over 10 times the recommended amount. Any sensible person must surely see that he was deliberately putting children's lives at risk, confident that neither he nor the unit/culture within which he works would ever be exposed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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