Techs Sue Over Alleged Inadequate Radiation Shielding

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Five x-ray and CT technologists at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn., are seeking damage compensation for radiation exposure they say they received from a CT scanner that operated for 7 years without adequate lead shielding in the wall between the scanner and the control room.

The technologists filed five individual lawsuits in Tennessee’s Anderson County Circuit Court on January 13, 2014, against Covenant Health of Knoxville, Tenn., the company that operates Methodist Medical Center, as well as the building company and architectural firm that designed the emergency room where the CT scanner was installed. Those firms are Rentenbach Engineering Co. of Knoxville, Tenn., and TEG Architects LLC of Jeffersonville, Ind.

In a statement issued to local media outlets “Oak Ridge Today” and NBC television affiliate WBIR, the medical center countered that it did meet all safety standards and will “refute these accusations vigorously.”

Two of the plaintiffs in the case were pregnant during part of the time they worked in the control room next to the CT scanner. Both women also are suing on behalf of their child and were listed by Oak Ridge Today as Micah Noelle Lewellen, of Knoxville, an X-ray technologist, and Mary Ridenour of Andersonville, Tenn., a CT technologist.

The other three plaintiffs are Keith Gillis of Knoxville, Michael Phillips of Clinton, and Connie Raby of Clinton. Gillis and Phillips were both CT technologists. Raby was an X-ray technologist.

According to WBIR, attorney John Agee of Clinton is representing all five technologists. Agee told WBIR that he expected the number of plaintiffs to increase to as many as 30 as other current and former hospital imaging technologists who worked near the hospital’s emergency room CT scanner come forward.