Patients with cancer have been severely injured or died after receiving massive overdoses of radiation from Varian linear accelerators that were not used safely.
Need a Texas Varian Linear Accelerator Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with a radiation overdose, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit in Texas.
$15 Million Awarded in Varian Linear Accelerator Lawsuit
In September 2013, the family of a man who was severely over-irradiated by a Varian linear accelerator has settled their lawsuit for $15 million, according to the Insurance Journal.
The man, Zacarias Chichioco Jr., received about 2.5-times the proper amount of radiation during his first 21 treatments, according to the lawsuit.
The problem was traced to a programming error in software used in the system. The lawsuit claims Varian knew about the error in May 2007 and updated the software, but did not provide Chichioco’s doctors with instructions for how to avoid the error.
After the overdose, Chichioco quickly developed significant side effects — painful swallowing, hallucinations, hearing loss, paralysis on the left side of his face, and skin graft surgeries. Attorneys said these complications were so severe, he stopped seeking treatment and died of lung cancer.
Varian Linear Accelerators and Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Linear accelerators are commonly used in standard radiation therapy, but they do not actually use radioactive material. They have been re-designed by the manufacturer, Varian Medical Systems, to so they can also perform stereotactic radiosurgery.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a type of radiation therapy that focuses a single high-powered beam of energy on a tiny tumor, often in the brain or spine. Accuracy is extremely important.
What is the problem?
As the system became more complex, problems arose when electronic components could not communicate with each other, according to the New York Times.
Between 2005 and 2010, the Times found “scores of errors and overdoses” involving Varian linear accelerators that were modified for SRS
In Missouri, for example, 76 patients had radiation overdoses because the operator did not realize that the radiation beam had to be calibrated differently on the modified system.
Experts warn about safety flaws with the “mix and match” system. For example, the Varian linear accelerator is often combined with a cone attachment that is supposed to focus the beam into a small, powerful beam. Unfortunately, some patients have been massively over-irradiated when the radiation beam was too large to fit inside the cone.
Radiation sickness is an illness resulting from an overdose of radiation. According to the National Institute of Health, symptoms may include:
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, and rectum
- Bloody stools
- Hair loss
- Inflammation of exposed areas
- Mouth ulcers
- Nausea and vomiting
- Open sores
- Skin burns and sloughing
- Ulcers in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines
- Vomiting blood
Need a Varian Linear Accelerator Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas Varian linear accelerator lawyers for a free lawsuit review.