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Radiation Overexposure In Springfield, Missouri | Medical Malpractice

Posted on Mar 26, 2010
A Class action lawsuit filed in Green County, Missouri earlier this month against Lester E. Cox Medical Centers alleges that Anthony Zilius' wife Diane was one of 76 brain cancer patients exposed to excessive radiation during her treatment with the CoxHealth BrainLab's stereotactic radiation therapy system. Last month, CoxHealth revealed that it had overradiated 76 patients due to an error in the BrainLab system calibration. 

According to the lawsuit, Diane Zilius underwent radiation therapy treatment in April 2008 at which time she suffered radiation overexposure resulting in acute brain damage that led to the need for brain surgery in January 2009. She died in August 2009.

The class action lawsuit alleges that CoxHealth negligently caused severe, permanent, progressive injuries that included partial brain death due to over radiation, severe pain and suffering in connection with resulting surgeries, procedures and therapies due to the improper calibration of the BrainLab radiation system, and untimely, agonizing death. The suit further alleges that CoxHealth negligently failed to calibrate and verify calibration of the system, inadequately review plaintiff's medical information, failed to supervise it employees to ensure the BrainLab radiation physicist was properly trained, failed to have sufficient calibration policies and procedures, and failed to coordinate and oversee plaintiff's healthcare. 
John Duff, MD, Sr. VP of hospital operations at CoxHealth has stated that the calibration mistake was due to the physicist operating the BrainLab radiation beam and gathering data to calibrate the machine choosing the wrong measuring device. That physicist is no longer at the hospital and the calibration mistake was discovered when another physicist  was trained on the machine. The BrainLab program has been suspended by the hospital and in February patients began being notified of the mistake. 

Plaintiff Anthony Zilius learned of the radiation overexposure to his wife when he received a letter from CoxHealth on February 24, 2010. According to his attorneys, this was the first he knew of the over radiation even though his wife lost use of the right side of her body after the treatment in April 2008 and underwent brain surgery in January 2009 to remove dead brain cells.

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