Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Philly Local: Philadelphia VA Prostate Cancer Scandal

Published on June 23, 2009 in THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.
I contributed some reporting to this story.

Specter plans hearing on VA prostate cancer treatment

By Marie McCullough
Inquirer Staff Writer

Four years ago, after talking to doctors at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, the Rev. Ricardo Flippin opted for a radiation therapy that would precisely target his prostate cancer and leave nearby organs unharmed.

Instead, his prostate cancer got too little radiation while his rectum received so much that he suffered excruciating, permanent damage.

Flippin, 68 - a minister, teacher, and Air Force veteran - is hardly unique.

The Philadelphia VA has notified 92 prostate cancer patients treated between 2002 and 2008 that their "brachytherapy" radiation doses were too high or too low. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has shut down the brachytherapy program in Philadelphia and three other VA hospitals with less serious problems.

Yesterday, the unfolding scandal prompted Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) to say he would hold a hearing on the matter in Philadelphia on Monday.

Read more here...

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