Radiation therapy is often used in the treatment of cancer. The goal of radiation therapy, which can be used externally or internally depending on the patient, is to destroy cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors. Unfortunately, carelessness or negligence can lead to accidents during treatment, with the potential to result in serious radiation burns. If you or one of your family members suffered from radiation burns while being treated for cancer in Maryland, the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers of Bennett & Heyman, P.A. can help.
At Bennett & Heyman, we have over 70 years of combined experience fighting on behalf of injury victims and their loved ones. We know how important it is to have an advocate on your side after you’ve been in a serious accident, and our dedicated attorneys are here to provide aggressive representation for you and your family. For a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (410) 429-7856, or contact Bennett & Heyman online. We can determine whether you have an injury claim against a doctor or hospital for radiation burns.
Effects of Radiation Burns from Cancer Treatment
There are two types of radiation therapy: external beam therapy, which uses a specialized machine to target cancer from outside the body, and internal radiation therapy, which involves placing a solid or liquid source of radiation inside the body.
Radiation, which is a type of energy, is used to treat various types of cancer because it can kill or inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, if a medical device malfunctions or a doctor makes an error, the patient may be accidentally overexposed to radiation, resulting in burn injuries which could have been avoided with proper care.
Like other types of burns, external or internal radiation burns can range in severity from mild to lethal, depending on the duration of exposure and other factors. Instead of terms like “second degree” or “third degree,” radiation burns are generally described as “beta burns” or “gamma burns.” Potential effects and symptoms of radiation burns, which are associated with a condition called “radiodermatitis” or “radiation dermatitis,” include:
- Itching or burning sensations
- Pain, which may range from mild to severe
- Redness and swelling of the skin
- Tissue death and loss of tissue
How Are Radiation Burns Treated?
Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer – but if injury results, the therapy itself may necessitate additional treatment. For mild skin irritation, at-home treatments like prescription or over-the-counter topical creams may provide relief. However, more intensive therapies and treatments are needed for other injuries. For example, in severe cases, patients may require skin grafting or hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), which involves entering a specially-designed chamber where the air pressure is higher than normal. This enables increased oxygen intake, which can help to heal many types of wounds and injuries, including radiation burns.
It’s extremely important to seek medical care right away if you are concerned about radiation burns or any other unusual symptoms. A medical professional can diagnose your condition and recommend a course of treatment.
Radiation Lawsuits and Settlements
Radiation therapy, though integral to the treatment of many patients, can also be risky. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “An estimated 85% of patients who undergo radiation therapy experience moderate to severe skin reactions, according to Current Oncology, a peer-reviewed medical journal.” The risk is even greater when doctors fail to exercise the utmost degree of precision and care.
If negligence or medical malpractice leads to preventable radiation burns, the patient can seek financial compensation – and hold the responsible parties accountable – by filing a claim or lawsuit. For example, a patient may have cause to file a lawsuit if their injury was caused by the overuse or improper use of radiation. Injuries can also occur if the radiation is aimed at the wrong target area, or if there are unintended variations between doses.
It may be possible to obtain financial compensation for your injuries, including compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income. While many injury claims end with settlements, it may be necessary to go to court if the responsible parties are unwilling to make a settlement offer. Our Baltimore radiation burn attorneys are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect your best interests, and are here to provide supportive, strategy-driven representation.
Maryland Radiation Burn Injury Lawyers in Baltimore
At the law offices of Bennett & Heyman, P.A., we dedicate our legal practice to aggressive advocacy for the injured and their loved ones. While our office is located in Baltimore, we represent burn injury victims throughout the state of Maryland.
If you believe that you, your spouse, your child, or another family member suffered radiation burns due to medical malpractice or hospital negligence, we are here to listen and offer guidance. Contact us online for a free consultation, or call Bennett & Heyman at (410) 429-7856 today.