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ASCRO's Response to NY Times Articles on Radiation Therapy Incidents
Date:2/10/2010

WEXFORD, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Our members deeply regret the needless tragedies outlined in the Times articles and express our sympathy to the families who have lost loved ones and witnessed their suffering.  Our hearts also go out to all others whose lives have been impacted by these tragedies including therapists, physicians and physicists. We feel that, as radiation oncology professionals, we are all, directly or indirectly, responsible for these disastrous treatment errors and we therefore must, in future, take a more active role to assure episodes like these are never repeated. This is why ASCRO is offering a unique solution   which goes to the root of many accidents:  "Provider Status" for clinical radiation oncology physicists.  

Lack of Provider Status = Lack of Authority = Endangered Patients

Board certified medical physicists, even though recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), were never granted provider status by Congress.  Lacking this distinction, they are, in most cases, excluded from medical staff membership and made to report up a long managerial chain of command.  Although responsible for the radiation treatment process, they are often denied the authority to make decisions based on patient safety and treatment accuracy.

ASCRO, the American Society of Clinical Radiation Oncology, is a professional organization founded in 2009 with the goal of rebuilding and supporting the authority of clinical physicists to prevent the kind of injuries described in the Times article. To this end, ASCRO is committed to provider status and medical staff membership for radiation oncology physicists.  We also support changing reporting structures within treatment facilities so that board certified physicists report at a level commensurate with their education and experience.

About ASCRO

ASCRO members are radiation oncology professionals, primarily radiation oncology physicists and physicians, dedicated to improving the quality of patient care. For more details, please visit our website at www.ascro.org.

SOURCE American Society of Clinical Radiation Oncology (ASCRO)

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SOURCE American Society of Clinical Radiation Oncology (ASCRO)
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