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Four radiologic technologists are suing an architectural firm, a construction company, and a construction manager, saying the installation of unshielded glass when a hospital was built 10 years ago left them exposed for years to excess radiation.

The lawsuit says the window between the CT scanning and control rooms at Hudson Hospital & Clinics was quarter-inch plate glass rather than lead-shielded glass. The techs’ attorney, Chuck Bye of River Falls, Wisconsin, said the hospital discovered the issue more than a year ago when it bought a new CT scanner. During radiation testing as part of the installation, Bye said, a physicist discovered that the window was “ordinary glass.”

Bye was quoted by the Hudson Star-Observer newspaper.

The hospital is in Hudson, Wisconsin, just east of Minneapolis–St. Paul. Bye said the hospital reported the problem to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a “construction error.”

“State law requires the glass to be of the same radiation resistance as the walls,” he said. He added:

It was corrected as soon as it was discovered. Hudson Hospital has been cooperative, and there is no claim that they did anything wrong.

The lawsuit doesn’t name the hospital as a defendant but does name Hammes Company, a consulting and project management company based in Brookfield, Wisconsin, which oversaw the hospital’s construction; Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis; and Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA), an architecture and engineering firm in Minneapolis.

The suit says the techs’ radiation exposure was 20 times what it should have been. As a result, it says, they and the 8-month-old daughter of one of the techs have suffered unspecified injuries. “Medical evaluations are ongoing,” Bye said. He said he couldn’t disclose details of his clients’ health situation.

No patients were affected, according to both the hospital and Bye. “There is no concern that anyone who had a CT scan performed on them by the Hudson Hospital at any time received anything more than normal radiation exposure,” Bye said.

The hospital, Hammes, and Mortenson all declined to comment specifically about the allegations, according to the Star-Observer and WCCO-TV of Minneapolis. HGA did not respond to requests for comment.

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A federal judge allows a Florida whistle-blower case involving radiology billing to proceed. A plaintiffs’ attorney says liability for a hospital chain could exceed $100 million. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 8.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): ALARA—CT (As Low As Reasonably Achievable)

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