by Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | June 18, 2013
A patient at James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, died on June 5 from injuries sustained while being scanned with a gamma camera. The camera apparently fell and crushed the patient.
According to information currently available, the gamma camera was an Infinia Hawkeye 4 SPECT/CT from GE Healthcare.
Benjamin Fox, a spokesperson for GE, told DOTmed News in an e-mail that GE Healthcare responded immediately upon being notified about the event "and is working with all appropriate government agencies to complete a thorough investigation."
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the victim was a 66-year-old man. He was undergoing a procedure using the gamma camera when the apparatus collapsed and crushed him.
Because gamma cameras image gamma radiation emitting radioisotopes (that are injected into the patient), large and heavy panels of crystal insulated with lead are used to convert rays to light. They rotate around the patient.
A spokesperson for the medical center said the equipment was installed in 2006.
GE said it's the company's understanding that the gamma camera was not under a service contract with GE.
Officials are calling it a rare incident.
"This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts go out to the patient and his family. We are supporting the ongoing investigation into the cause of this incident," said GE.
GE has not yet been permitted access to the equipment and as a result, the company said they have not been able to determine the root cause of the incident.