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Q: Court case - Injuries done by performing brain CT/CAT scan on patient? ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Court case - Injuries done by performing brain CT/CAT scan on patient?
Category: Health
Asked by: sammy2004-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 16 Jun 2004 11:26 PDT
Expires: 16 Jul 2004 11:26 PDT
Question ID: 362001
Is there any reported court cases or other wise of any one in the
world who was injured by undergoing brain CT/CAT scan diagnostic test?

Request for Question Clarification by thx1138-ga on 16 Jun 2004 11:49 PDT
Hello sammy2004 and thank you for your question.

I have located a case where a patient suffered severe brain damage
during a CT scan, but the injury was not as a result of the X-rays but
as a result of lack of oxygen (the oxygen bottle supply had run out)

Would this be of interest to you?

Best regards


Request for Question Clarification by thx1138-ga on 16 Jun 2004 13:07 PDT
Hello again sammy2004

I have also located some information that CT scans might cause cancer
in children  (although no actual court cases)



Clarification of Question by sammy2004-ga on 17 Jun 2004 01:51 PDT
I am only intersted in any case that resulted in some brain damage or
impairment directly due the use of the CT/CAT scan. EITHER As legal
case or health discussion Forum?

Request for Question Clarification by thx1138-ga on 17 Jun 2004 06:04 PDT
Hello again sammy2004

I was unable to find any court cases regarding brain damage or
impairment directly due the use of the CT/CAT scan.  I have however
found several official (statements from the FDA and hospitals) saying
that there are risks associated with CT/CAT scans and contracting
cancer (although the rsiks are low in adults, they are increased in
children) Would this information be of interest to you?

Very best regards


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 17 Jun 2004 06:33 PDT
Hello Sammy,

Like my colleagues, I have not found cases involving direct injury due
to a brain CT scan.  However, there are a number of cases where it is
alleged that improper use of the CT scan (e.g. delay in testing,
misdiagnosis of results) led to injury in the patient.

Are these types of cases of interest to you?


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 17 Jun 2004 06:42 PDT
Actually...there is one possibility.  A patient sued the hospital
because he had a seizure during his CT scan and struck the CT
equipment, injuring himself.

Does that meet your needs?


Clarification of Question by sammy2004-ga on 17 Jun 2004 07:14 PDT
Is there any cases where Brain CT/CAT scan caused any type of harm to
individual any where in the world whither it's taken to court or
available in medical community or any other source. I know there is
always a long term theoretical risk of cancer for people undergone
radiation exposure BUT what I am after a specific harm done as
directly due to the brain CT scan procedure?

Request for Question Clarification by thx1138-ga on 17 Jun 2004 11:26 PDT
Hello again sammy2004

I think the answer to your question is, there are no reported court
cases or other wise of any one in the world who was injured by
undergoing brain CT/CAT scan diagnostic test.

The only reference I could find was:

"A psychic won $986,000 in a suit against her doctor, claiming that
undergoing a CAT scan procedure had led to the suppression of her
psychic powers, and thus her ability to make a living"

Is 'no' a suitable answer?

Best regards


Clarification of Question by sammy2004-ga on 18 Jun 2004 01:36 PDT

If the answer to my question is NO case of any kind any where in the
world both in medical world / or legal one (Including legal & medical
archives) or even as individual, Can I ask if this has been an
extensive search done if so can I ask How many brain CT/CAT scan
Performed per (day or month or year) world wide (statistics of the use
of procedure world wide since it's first use - May be from WHO?). This
information will be useful for me for the research into the use of
CT/CAT scan.

Appreciate your help

Request for Question Clarification by thx1138-ga on 18 Jun 2004 06:57 PDT
Hello again sammy2004

Thank you for your clarification.

Yes, the research I carried out was extensive, I would estimate I
spent three and a half hours researching for cases where injury had
been sustained as a direct result of a CT scan.  I have researched
both medical websites, legal websites and the web in general, all to
no avail.  I cannot say definitively that there have NEVER been ANY
cases, but I am confident that this is the case.  After all, had there
been a case, I'm sure it would have been widely reported.

Having said that, I do have the following information: (All are reported estimates)

Number of scans performed world wide in a particular year.
Number of scans performed in the USA in a particular year.
Percentage of hospitals in the USA that have machines.
Costs of a scan.
Information about the inventor of the machine.
The date the machine was first introduced.
A picture of one of the first machines, and a scan from one of the first machines.

Please let me know if you would like me to post the information above as an answer.

Very best regards


PS. Thinking about it, I have noticed during my research into this
subject, that a patient must sign a consent form before a scan.  Could
it be that this consent form protects the hospital from malpractice
suits? After all, the patient could only take action against a
hospital if he/she could prove neglegence.  As the scan carries some
inherent risk anyway, this would seem to make sense. (I think!)
Subject: Re: Court case - Injuries done by performing brain CT/CAT scan on patient?
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 18 Jun 2004 09:01 PDT
Hello again sammy2004

Having spent some more time on your question, I am confident I can
give you some more valuable information in addition to my previous

"In the affluent nations, the increasing use of CT scans is
remarkable. The average annual rate per 1,000 population rose from 6.1
to 44, in the periods 1970-1979 vs. 1985-1990 (UNSCEAR 1993, p.283,
Table 8). For 1985-1990, the annual rate in the USA was about 14.5 CT
exams per 1,000 population; in Australia, 30 per 1,000; West Germany,
35 per 1,000; Belgium, 50 per 1,000; and Japan, 97 per 1,000 (UNSCEAR,
p.280-281, Table 7)."

UNSCEAR (refered to above) is the united Nations Scientific Committee
on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.
unfortunately, their web page that has the reports does not seem to be
working properly, and I was unable to access their reports.  (I have
notified them of the problem and hopefully their reports will be
available soon)


"Of the 93 million CT scans performed every year in the world, up to
65 million CT scans are performed in the United States alone, says Dr.


"The most frequent types of CT examinations are CT scans of the head,
the abdomen and the thorax, respectively 39%, 27% and 19% of all CT
examinations. The largest contribution to the average effective dose
per capita stems from CT abdomen scans (24% of the total from medical
diagnostic exposures"


Hounsfield, Sir Godfrey Newbold
"1919?, British electrical engineer. A radar expert for the Royal Air
Force during World War II, in the 1950s Hounsfield began developing
computer and X-ray technology for EMI, Ltd., an international
electronics and entertainment corporation. He built the prototype for
the first CAT scan machine, which produced detailed images of
cross-sections of the human body, in 1972. For this innovation he
shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Allan
Cormack, who had independently derived and published the mathematical
basis of CAT scanning in 1963?64. Hounsfield was knighted in 1981"


A picture of the first CAT scanner can be found at the website below
along with a picture of an early brain scan using the machine:
"Original "Siretom" dedicated head CT scanner, circa 1974"


"Screening spiral CT scans are available outside of clinical trials,
though they cost $300 to $1,000 and health plans generally do not
cover the charges. About half of the hospitals in the United States
own spiral CT machines, each costing upwards of $1 million."


"Medical Technology as a Driver of Healthcare Costs: Diagnostic Imaging"


"80% of hospitals have CT scanners and 50% have MRI scanners."


"A typical Community Hospital may carry out over 80 Ultrasound and 50
C.T. scans alone per day."


"In the past five years the department has seen an increase of 18 per
cent in plain X-rays, 50 per cent in CT scans, 44 per cent in
ultrasound scans and over 40 per cent in interventional work."


"Over 10 percent of the CT scans each year are done on children, who
are much more sensitive than adults to radiation."


"CT examinations and procedures are performed annually in 7800 CT
facilities in the United States.  The annuall number of CT
examinations in the United States increased almost 10-fold in less
than 2 decades."


"In 2003 the cost of an average CT scanner was 1.3 million dollars"


"The first CT instrument was placed in a British hospital in 1972, and
in 1973 the Mayo Clinic began operating the first machine in the U.S."


Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my
answer, do not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.

Very best regards


Search strategy included:
"cat OR ct  scans" annually

UNSCEAR "ct OR cat scans" 

Request for Answer Clarification by sammy2004-ga on 19 Jun 2004 12:33 PDT
Hi There
First Thanks for all the help you given so far. Can you clarify for me
if there is any information about how they approve the use of such
procedure on the public in the first place (i.e. How they test the
safety of this procedure prior of being used world wide). Is there a
monitoring body on the safety of this procedure (in the

Your help most appreciated

Clarification of Answer by thx1138-ga on 21 Jun 2004 07:11 PDT
Hello again sammy2004

To take the last point in your request for clarification first.  In
the USA the FDA is responsible for monitoring CT scan standards.  The
specific piece of Federal law can be seen here:


Also see:
"How does FDA regulate CT Systems?"

As in the USA, other countries have their own governmental departments
for monitoring the safety of CAT scans.  For example, a survey from
the netherlands:

In the UK, 'imPACT' provides information that should be of interest to you:

"Welcome to the web site of the ImPACT group. We are the UK's CT
scanner evaluation centre, funded by the Medicines and Healthcare
products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We provide a wide range of CT
(Computed Tomography) scanner related services to the UK's National
Health Service. On our site, we try to give you an idea of our work,
as well as providing resources for people involved in CT scanning."

By the way, the patent number for the first CT scanner:
"Hounsfield, G.N., 1972, "A Method of and apparatus for examination of
a body by radiation such as x-ray or gamma radiation", British Patent
Number 1283915."

In Europe (as a whole), monitoring of the safety of CAT scans is the
responsibility of individual member countries under:
"EU Directive on health protection of individuals against the dangers
of ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure." see:


In terms of what testing was done before the technology was released
to the world, there is not that much information available (online
anyway).  I suspect that the harmful effects of radiation were
(partially!) understood and that 'safe' limits were established based
on that information, and that was how safety was established.

The most relevant documents for you would be:

(Not available online, but....)
"AMBROSE, J., ``Computerized transverse axial scanning (tomography):
Part 2. Clinical application'', British Journal of Radiology 1973;

"Houndsfield obtained his first patent in August of 1972 well after
the first clinical trials at the Atkinson Morley Hospital in October
1971 (Ambrose 1973 [2])."

Also see:

I hope that helps a little more.

Very best regards.

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