The Atomic Energy Of Canada Limited

1200 WordsMar 29, 20165 Pages
Brief History (MICHAEL TABB) Merriam-Webster has defined reliability as: “the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials”.[1] As technology advances, so does the use of computing and software in health services. With the onset of cancer, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) created a medical linear accelerator known as the Therac-25. The machines responsibility is to accelerate and increase the energy of electrically charge atomic particles by the introduction of an electric field focused by magnets. These accelerators are used to treat cancer patients with radiation to remove malignant cancerous cells and tissue. The use of the machines caused radiation overdoses between 1985 and 1987 causing loss of life and limb for patients in six accidents.[2] These six accidents began 3 June 1985 with a sixty-one year old woman receiving her twelfth treatment at Kennestone Regional Oncology Center in Marietta, Georgia. She had her breast removed and lost the use of a shoulder and arm after feeling a “tremendous rush of heat and red-hot sensation”, while receiving follow-up treatment for a malignant tumor removed from her breast in that facility (Porrelo, A.). The second accident occurred at the Ontario Cancer Foundation clinic in Canada on 26 July 1985 where a forty-year-old patient was in receipt of her twenty-fourth Therac-25 treatment. During the treatment, the machine issued an "H-tilt" error message. This prompted the
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