A cancer patient in Bordeaux received treatment of the parotid gland by external radiotherapy. Halfway through the sessions, the medical team realized that the patient was not being treated on the right side.
The story is serious. A cancer patient underwent external radiation therapy to the parotid gland, a salivary gland located on either side of the mouth below the ears. He had to follow twenty-two sessions with a dose of 27.5 Gy.
Halfway through the treatment, at the eleventh session, a member of the medical staff of the Radiotherapy SARL of the Bordeaux-Nord clinic noticed that this patient was being treated… on the wrong side! He was surprised that the patient was treated on the opposite side of the face where he had a bandage.
“Incorrect indication of a doctor”
“The event led to an erroneous indication from a doctor on the side to be treated and this error was not seen”, explains Jean-François Valadeau, head of the local nuclear pole of the Bordeaux division of the Authority of nuclear safety, when presenting the annual results.
ASN qualified this “significant radiation protection event” as level 2 on the ASN-SFRO scale, which has 7. This classification corresponds to an “altered alteration of the organ” for this salivary gland wrongly irradiated in February 2021.
The patient’s age, gender and current state of health are not known due to medical secrecy.