Radiation Therapy Expert Witnesses
Key insights on malpractice involving cancer treatment
Radiation therapy is the medical use of ionizing radiation during cancer treatment to control or kill cancer cells. Radiation therapists are medical professionals who administer radiation therapy to cancer patients. Their duties involve preparing patients for radiation therapy, administering the therapy itself, monitoring patients during treatment, and maintaining treatment records and radiation equipment.
In the United States, radiation therapists need to complete an accredited one- to two-year program and obtain certification in radiation therapy from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to become a certified radiation therapist (CRT). Some radiation therapists obtain advanced certification in a specialized area of radiation therapy.
Under the supervision of a radiation oncologist, radiation therapists perform the following types of therapy:
- External beam radiation therapy: The most common type of radiation therapy, in which high-energy radiation beams are delivered to the tumor from outside the body.
- Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy): This involves placing a radioactive source directly into or next to the tumor and delivering radiation from within the body.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): This non-invasive treatment delivers high doses of radiation to a specific target in the brain or other body parts.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): This is a type of radiation therapy that delivers high doses of radiation to small tumors or lesions in the body, such as those in the lungs or liver.
- Proton therapy: This is a type of radiation therapy that uses protons instead of X-rays to deliver radiation to the tumor for more precise targeting.
The role of a radiation therapist as an expert witness
Typically, radiation therapists are called as expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases involving cancer treatment in which a radiation therapist was involved. It is often unclear whether malpractice was the responsibility of the radiation therapist or the supervising radiation oncologist, so qualified expert witnesses in both specialties should be retained to get to the bottom of what happened and why. A radiation therapist can testify regarding standards of care during radiation therapy, proper maintenance, and calibration of radiation equipment, and whether the defendant met or breached those standards.
Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants has decades of experience working with America’s finest medical malpractice attorneys. Our network includes experienced, highly qualified radiation therapists who are prepared to testify in depositions and at trial if necessary. Contact us today for a free case summary review.