Nurse sues Abbotsford hospital, claiming ‘radiation overexposure’ after CT scan

A Richmond nurse is suing the Fraser Health Authority and the General Electric Company Canada, claiming he was exposed to an "unnecessary amount of radiation" during a CT scan at Abbotsford Regional Hospital two years ago.

A Richmond nurse is suing the Fraser Health Authority and the General Electric Company Canada, claiming he was exposed to an “unnecessary amount of radiation” during a CT scan at Abbotsford Regional Hospital two years ago.

In his notice of civil claim, Randy Kroeplin alleges he suffered organ damage, radiation sickness and injuries to his skin and underlying tissues.

The injuries led to pain, fatigue, depression, shortness of breath, digestive tract issues and other problems, the claim states.

Kroeplin had the CT (computed tomography) scan performed on March 19, 2009, starting at about 8:30 a.m. He said the scanner appeared to stop about halfway through.

He was left in the scanner, and the procedure began again at about 9 a.m., ending four minutes later.

The technician who performed the scan is unnamed in the civil claim, and is one of the defendants. Kroeplin accuses the hospital worker of negligence for leaving him in the scanner for more than 30 minutes, saying this is “not conduct that is generally recognized as acceptable practice.”

He said the Fraser Health Authority “failed to adequately train and/or supervise technicians operating the CT scanner” and did not maintain the equipment.

GE Canada was negligent in that “it failed to design and manufacture the CT scanner appropriately,” did not install safety features to prevent radiation overexposure and did not provide proper instructions on its safe use, the claim states.

Benjamin Box, public relations manager for GE Healthcare, said that although the company cannot comment on the specifics of the litigation, “patient safety continues to be the primary concern of GE Healthcare (GEHC).

“GEHC’s CT diagnostic equipment has multiple built-in safeguards to ensure the medical professional is fully informed on the quantity of the radiation to be administered during a examination,” he said.

Kroeplin is seeking relief in the form of general and special damages, wage loss, related costs and interest.

The claim was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 11.

It is unrelated to the announcement that same day by the B.C. health ministry that two radiologists who were unqualified or inexperienced misinterpreted the results of CT scans performed at hospitals in Abbotsford and Powell River.

The Abbotsford scans were performed between mid-August and mid-September 2010. The vacation relief radiologist in question performed 170 scans during that period, and the results of 10 of those were misinterpreted, according to the ministry.

One of those patients has since died, and the case is under investigation.

On Monday, it was revealed that a third doctor, working out of Comox, was being investigated after “significant errors” were discovered in the interpretation of CT scans at St. Joseph’s General Hospital. For 30 years, that radiologist had his credentials to read CT scans.

He has surrendered his hospital privileges while the investigation is underway.

If you are involved in one of the 10 Abbotsford cases, The News would like to hear your story. Call the newsroom at 604-853-1144.

Check abbynews.com for further updates.