Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Kansas City radiotheraphy accident, 1998

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 24 September 2007

Date: 6 October 1998

Location: St. Joseph Health Center, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Type of event: radiotherapy accident


A patient was administered a 0.155 curie dose of iodine-131 for treatment of thyroid cancer and subsequently found to be pregnant. The women had told the physician that there was no possibility of pregnancy, but about 3.5 hours after administration the physician received positive pregnancy test results on the woman that had been performed by the referring physician. The woman was advised to increase fluid intake to flush free iodine from her system. She was determined to have been 13.5 weeks pregnant with twins at the time of administration; estimated dose to each fetus was 38 rem whole body and over 200,000 rem to each fetal thyroid. The physician advised the woman that the babies faced a 30% increase in chance of microcephaly, 20-50% increase in chance of childhood cancer, increased chance of mental retardation, in addition to loss of thyroid glands. The woman had the twins aborted.

Consequences: 2 fetal terminations.


© 2007 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 24 September 2007.
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