A RADIOLOGIST today warned of the radiation dangers of the huge growth in the use of CT scans.
Steven Birnbaum said watching his 23-year-old daughter undergo a series of scans following a car accident reinforced his fear that many doctors have limited knowledge of the radiation doses involved.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Mr Birnbaum described how he eventually stepped in at the hospital where his daughter Molly was being treated because so many scans were being performed.
He said: "I had seen a few examples of radiation overexposure in the community hospital setting in which I work and was beginning to act on this.
"Now I saw it happen to my own daughter. I was horrified. I asked the surgical chief resident if any thought had been given to radiation exposure in patients when doctors ordered CT studies."
He added: "When she said that there was at the adjacent children's hospital, but not here, I replied `If Molly gives birth to a salamander, I know who I am coming after'."
Mr Birnbaum went on: "A spiral scan of the abdomen or pelvis exposes a patient to about 10 mSv (millisieverts) of radiation.
"The risk of one or two studies is negligible. "But in young patients, five of these studies exposes patients to the amount of radiation that produces carcinogenic effects in the atom bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."