Radiation disaster response: preparation and simulation experience at an academic medical center.
OBJECTIVES: A mass casualty disaster drill involving the simulated explosion of a radiation dispersal device (dirty bomb) was performed with the participation of multiple hospitals, emergency responders, and governmental agencies. The exercise was designed to stress trauma service capacities, communications, safety, and logistic functions. We report our experience and critique of the planning, training, and execution of the exercise, with special attention to the integrated response of the Departments of Nuclear Medicine, Health Physics, and Emergency Medicine. METHODS: The Health Physics Department presented multiple training sessions to the Emergency Medicine Department, Operating Room, and ancillary staff; reviewing basics of radiation biology and risk, protection standards, and detection of radiocontamination. Competency-based simulations using Geiger-Muller detectors and sealed sources were performed. Two nuclear medicine technologists played an important role in radiation discrimination-that is, assessment of radioactive contamination with survey meters and radionuclide identification based on gamma-spectroscopy of wipe smears from patients' clothing, skin, and orifices. Three Health Physics personnel and one senior Nuclear Medicine staff member were designated the radiation control officers for assigned teams triaging or treating patients. Patients were triaged and, when indicated, decontaminated. RESULTS: Within a 2-h period, 21 simulated victims arrived at our institution's Emergency Room. Of these, 11 were randomized as noncontaminated, with 10 as contaminated. Decontamination procedures were implemented in a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) decontamination trailer and, for the 5 patients with simulated serious injuries, in a designated trauma room. A full debriefing took place at the conclusion of the exercise. Staff largely complied with appropriate radiation protection protocols, although decontamination areas were not effectively controlled. The encountered limitations included significant lapses in communications and logistics, lack of coordination in the flow of patients through the HAZMAT trailer, insufficient staff to treat acute patients in a radiation control area, additional personnel needed for transport, and insufficient radiation safety personnel to control each decontamination room. CONCLUSION: Nuclear Medicine personnel are particularly well qualified to assist Health Physics and Emergency Medicine personnel in the preparation for, and management of, mass casualty radiation emergencies. Simulation exercises, though resource intensive, are essential to an institution's determination of response capability, performance, and coordination with outside agencies. (+info)
Medical ethics, clinical research, and special aspects in nuclear medicine.
Medical ethics is the science of survival. It studies the working out of judgments on right or wrong referred to the human being as a biological entity interacting with the whole ecosystem. Medical ethics in clinical research raises numerous moral and technical issues. Methodological aspects are essential for carrying out the aim of clinical research. Medical ethics documents are inspired by the Nuremberg Code and culminate in the recently updated Helsinki Declaration of 1964. In Italy 2 ministerial decrees in 1997 and 1998 laid the basis for the work of a medical ethics committee. They acknowledge the European Good Clinical Practice Guidelines and set professional needs within ethical committees. In clinical research the use of ionising radiation merits special consideration. In the recent past, serious human rights abuses in radiation experiments of the 1950s and 1960s have been found. As regards research in this field we can refer to the publication of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and to the report of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Legislative decree no. 187 of May 26, 2000, which transposed the 97/43/ EURATOM Directive represents the most comprehensive and recent normative reference to clinical research using ionising radiation. However, law no. 39 of March 1, 2002 is important for the partial modifications of previous decrees (art. 108 of L.D. no. 230 of March 17, 1995 and, art. 4 and attachment III of L.D. no. 187 of May 26). In this paper medical ethics, research, methodological issues and aspects of ionizing radiation are discussed. (+info)
Assessment of personal qualities in selection of medical radiation science students.
It is increasingly acknowledged that, in addition to prior academic achievement, there is a need to seek evidence for the abilities and personal qualities of applicants to health professional programs at a university. The aim of this study was to determine the specific abilities and personal qualities required for excellence in practice in the relevant professional domains of medical radiation science (MRS). METHODS: A focus group, consisting of MRS academic staff, developed a questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to senior MRS practitioners throughout Australia and 213 were returned for analysis. Respondents were asked to rate 40 specific abilities and qualities (referred to as "elements") on a 5-point scale. RESULTS: Two hundred thirteen completed questionnaires were returned, a 53% response rate. One hundred twelve respondents (52%) indicated they currently worked in diagnostic radiography (DR), 57 (27%) worked in radiation therapy (RT), and 44 (21%) worked in nuclear medicine (NM). The duration (mean +/- SD) of the respondents' professional practice in MRS was 14.5 +/- 10 y, with durations ranging from 1 to 43 y. Raw scores and mean scores were examined for any influence of the variable "Number of Years in Practice." DISCUSSION: No major differences were found between the ratings provided by the practitioners from the 3 different MRS professional domains of NM, RT, and DR. Factor analysis indicated the existence of 3 orthogonal factors in the questionnaire data: (a) treat others professionally and ethically, (b) engage with and be open to others, and (c) problem-solving ability. Qualitative analysis of the respondents' comments provided similar themes: (a) the need for professional competence (knowledge and abilities), (b) ethical behavior, (c) the need for a technology and a people orientation, and (d) MRS should be the first choice of MRS students and not a second choice to other professional degrees. CONCLUSION: Senior medical radiation scientists identified professionalism, ethical behavior, engagement with and openness to others, intrinsic specific motivation, and an orientation to people and technology as nonacademic qualities required for excellence in the practice of the professions embraced by MRS. (+info)
Hyperthermia, a modality in the wings.
Hyperthermia is a heat-treatment. It is widely used in various medical fields and has a well-recognized effect in oncology. Its effect is achieved by overheating of the targeted tissues. It is an ancient treatment and a promising physical approach with lack of acceptance by the serious medical use. To accept the method we need strong proofs and stable, reproducible treatment quality, but we are limited by biological, physical/technical and physiological problems. However, the main point--I believe--is the incorrect characterization and unrealistic expectations from this capable method. The temperature concept of the quality assurance guidelines has to be replaced by the heat-dose sensitive characterization, pointing the essence of the hyperthermia method. (+info)
Recent innovations in carbon-ion radiotherapy.
In the last few years, hospital-based facilities for carbon-ion radiotherapy are being constructed and proposed in Europe and Asia. During the next few years, several new facilities will be opened for carbon-ion radiotherapy in the world. These facilities in operation or under construction are categorized in two types by the beam shaping method used. One is the passive beam shaping method that is mainly improved and systematized for routine clinical use at HIMAC, Japan. The other method is active beam shaping which is also known as beam scanning adopted at GSI/HIT, Germany. In this paper an overview of some technical aspects for beam shaping is reported. The technique of passive beam shaping is established for stable clinical application and has clinical result of over 4000 patients in HIMAC. In contrast, clinical experience of active beam shaping is about 400 patients, and there is no clinical experience to respiratory moving target. A great advantage of the active beam shaping method is patient-specific collimator-less and compensator-less treatment. This may be an interesting potential for adaptive radiotherapy. (+info)