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article imageWoman Left in CT Scanner for Hours

By Chris V. Thangham     Sep 28, 2007 in Health
A cancer patient in Arizona was left alone in a CT scanner for hours because a technician apparently forgot about her. The woman also was locked inside the facility and had to call 911 to rescue her.
Elvira Tellez, 67, was diagnosed with bone cancer and was advised to visit Arizona Oncology Associates to do a CT scan to see whether the cancer had spread. The technician placed her inside the CT machine at about 4 pm on September 19th, dimmed the lights and told her not to move for another 25 minutes until the scan is complete.
The technician forgot to come back to complete the scanning process and instead left her in the Scanner. Tellez became panicky at this point and since she was bound to the platform, she had a hard time getting out of the machine and had to spend several hours trying to escape. She called her son, who advised her to call 911. By the time the police came to rescue her she spent five hours alone in the building.
Pima County sheriff's deputies arriving at the oncology office had her unlock the office door to let them in, said Deputy Dawn Hanke, a department spokeswoman. The deputies contacted the office manager, who was not aware of the situation.
Tellez was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure and was released early the next day.
Tellez said she has trouble sleeping since the incident. She said the technician called her the next day and apologized to her, but the clinic so far has not called her and apologize to her.
Sonya Holm, executive director of Arizona Oncology Associates, was not available for comment about this incident.
A physician who works at the facility said this is not the first time it had happened, it occurred many times before and left at the table for hours. If it happens one time, one can understand, but it seems like a repeat pattern, that shows there is no proper supervision in that facility.
Hope there is no harmful exposure of the Scanner on this poor woman. The clinic should at least call her and apologize; otherwise it is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
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