When something goes wrong, the first question that occurs to most people is who owns this problem? Often, the answer is shockingly simple: If you are asking that question, it is likely that you have an ownership stake. This is the case with the recent news that the FDA’s medical device recall-rate has doubled over a ten-year period, propelled largely by the failure of radiological devices. In fact, the growth rate of recalls for radiological devices (including linear accelerators) was closer to 150%.
Though it may appear to be, this is not bad news, but more of an evolutionary event in the development of the specialty. Prior to 2009, radiation awareness was not top of mind for anyone working in the field outside of the radiation physicist and pediatric radiologist communities. Since a series of high-profile radiation-safety failures were reported, the entire community has been on alert and vendors have been quick to report problems. This is a positive development, as the Center of Devices and Radiological Health made the point that most radiology problems have not been with the technology, but its clinical use.
Today, radiation awareness is owned by everyone working in the field of radiology, including technologists, radiologists, radiology and practice administrators, imaging IT, and vendors. More failures reported translate directly to better patient care. You should be proud.