Deadly Risks of CT Scans in Children

Each year, thousands of children are hospitalized and undergo medical imaging procedures, including x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. However, there is a growing body of research that shows that CT scans may lead to adverse effects in children—including dangerous brain injuries. If your child was subject to a CT scan and later developed a brain injury, your child and your family can sustain serious hardship. In these situations, you could hold the medical provider and his or her employer accountable through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What Is a CT Scan?

A CT scan is a medical imaging technique that doctors use to visualize different parts of the body. Before the scan, the doctor may administer a special material called contrast dye that helps internal organs, such as intestines, blood vessels, and other structures, show up more clearly on the machine. Contrast dye can be injected or placed in a liquid drink.

During the CT scan, the patient is placed in a machine that rotates and takes x-rays of the body from different angles. The doctor then analyzes these images to identify any abnormalities. This imaging technique can be used to treat and diagnose many conditions, including cancer, tumors, muscle disorders, internal bleeding, and brain injuries.

Why Child CT Scans Are Dangerous

While CT scans can help diagnose many illnesses and injuries, these procedures can pose certain risks to children. These machines emit a larger amount of radiation; according to the Yale School of Medicine, a CT scan exposes patients to 100 to 500 times more radiation than a normal x-ray. Significant research shows that radiation exposure can lead to cancer.

Children are more sensitive than adults to radiation. If a pediatrician or radiologist does not adjust a CT scan to accommodate a child’s smaller body, he or she may expose the child to a higher dose of radiation than necessary. If a child requires multiple CT scans in a short period of time, he or she may be exposed to a dangerous level of radiation.

Because children have a longer life expectancy than adult patients, there is a longer window for a child patient to develop radiation-related cancers than there is for adults. According to the National Cancer Institute, research shows that CT scans can increase the risk of leukemia and brain tumors.

What to Do If Your Child Is Injured by a CT Scan

Medical professionals have a responsibility to provide the most appropriate treatment for patients based on their symptoms and conditions. If a doctor performs an unnecessary number of CT scans, administers a higher dose of radiation than necessary, or fails to limit the scan to the smallest area necessary, he or she may expose the child to a dangerous amount of radiation.

If your child develops cancer after a CT scan, you could file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault physician or radiologist. However, you will need to prove that the at-fault party’s actions were negligent and caused your child’s injury. In these situations, a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer can help.

An attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your child’s right to compensation. He or she will enlist the help of expert witnesses, such as other medical professionals, who can analyze the at-fault party’s actions and prove that he or she deviated from the accepted standard of care. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your child’s diagnosis to discuss your legal options.