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The Radiation Boom

As Scott Jerome-Parks lay dying, he clung to this wish: that his fatal radiation overdose — which left him deaf, struggling to see, unable to swallow, burned, with his teeth falling out, with ulcers in his mouth and throat, nauseated, in severe pain and finally unable to breathe — be studied and talked about publicly so that others might not have to live his nightmare.
From the first of a series of articles by the New York Times, putting the spotlight on what happens when radiation therapy goes wrong. [more inside]
posted by Bukvoed on Jan 30, 2010 - 49 comments

It's always a race condition.

When programmers kill. [pdf] In 1982, Atomic Energy Canada, Limited, introduced the now-infamous Therac-25, a solely software-driven successor to its earlier medical linear accelerators. Six patients received massive amounts of radiation, and three died, before AECL was compelled to supplement the (faulty) software-only error-checking with hardware interlocks to prevent overexposure. [more inside]
posted by enn on May 20, 2008 - 18 comments

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