A radiation injury is a serious condition that can result from exposure to nuclear accidents, medical procedures, or radioactive materials in the workplace.

The effects of radiation can vary depending on the level and duration of exposure, as well as the type of radiation involved. In this article, we’ll focus on injuries that can result from radiation therapy used in the medical industry.

Radiation Therapy: Understanding the Risks

Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells, but it can also affect nearby healthy cells. The amount of radiation exposure and the length of the treatment can increase the risk of radiation injury.

Medical practitioners usually explain the risks of radiation and diagnose it carefully. Unfortunately, medical mistakes, due to the negligence of other, can occur, leading to unnecessary harm. Such mistakes can develop in debilitating illnesses that can permanently affect a patient’s quality of life.

Types of Radiation Used in Therapy

Clinicians will typically recommend one of the following types of radiation for treatment and diagnosis of illness:

Alpha Radiation

The least penetrating of radiation types, alpha radiation, is often used in internal radiation treatments dosed by medication. The treatment has been successful in trials for prostate cancers.

Beta Radiation

Like alpha radiation, beta radiation is used in radiopharmaceuticals. Beta radiation is often used in beta emitter form, with treatments like Iodine-131 used to treat thyroid disorders caused by cancer and Graves Disease.

Gamma Radiation

These high-energy electromagnetic waves can easily penetrate almost any surface, making them popular for external beam therapy. A machine called a linear accelerator generates x-rays or gamma rays.

Gamma radiation is the most powerful type of radiation, which makes it an effective way to treat cancer aggressively. However, this type of radiation is also the most dangerous since the rays can pass completely through the body.

Injuries from Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can cause different types of injuries, depending on the dose and the area of the body being treated. Some common types of radiation injuries from medical radiation therapy include:

  • Skin reactions: These can range from mild redness and irritation to blistering and peeling of the skin.
  • Radiation dermatitis: A type of skin inflammation that can occur after radiation therapy. Symptoms can include itching, burning, and pain.
  • Mucositis: This is inflammation of the mucous membranes, which can cause soreness and ulcers in the mouth, throat, and digestive tract.
  • Radiation enteritis: Inflammation of the small intestine that can occur after radiation therapy to the abdomen. Symptoms can include diarrhea, cramping, and nausea.
  • Radiation cystitis: Inflammation of the bladder that can occur after radiation therapy to the pelvis. Symptoms can include frequent urination, pain during urination, and blood in the urine.

Long-Term Skin Damage from Radiation Therapy

Cutaneous Radiation Injury (CRI) may occur due to high levels of radiation exposure to the skin. Symptoms of CRI can include:

  • Skin redness
  • Swelling
  • Blistering
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting,
  • Fatigue

In severe cases, CRI can lead to permanent skin damage and even death. Treatment for CRI may include wound care, pain management, and antibiotics to prevent infection.

Radiation-Induced Lung Injury

Radiation-induced lung injury is a condition that develops from lung exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation. This type of injury can occur as a result of radiation therapy for cancer treatment, accidental exposure to radiation, or exposure to radiation as part of a nuclear event. Symptoms of radiation-induced lung injury can vary depending on the severity of the damage and can include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain.

Treatments may include oxygen therapy, medication to reduce inflammation, and in severe cases, lung transplant.

Other Symptoms of Radiation Injuries

The symptoms of radiation injuries can vary depending on the type of exposure and the severity of the injury. The symptoms can be immediate or delayed, and can include:

  • Skin burns
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Organ failure

What Is a Radiation Injury Lawsuit?

A radiation injury lawsuit is a legal claim filed by an individual who has suffered harm due to exposure to radiation. This type of lawsuit can be filed against a variety of entities, including nuclear power plants, medical facilities that use radiation therapy, and companies that manufacture or transport radioactive materials.

The lawsuit must alleges that the defendant was negligent in failing to adequately protect the plaintiff from exposure to radiation, or in failing to provide adequate warning about the risks associated with radiation exposure. Damages in a radiation injury lawsuit may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in cases of wrongful death, compensation for the family of the deceased.

Radiation injury lawsuits can be complex and require the assistance of an experienced attorney.

When To Take Legal Action

If you’ve suffered from a radiation injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. We encourage you to contact our experienced personal injury lawyers to evaluate your case and help you understand your legal rights.

Contact us for a free consultation today.