If you were a medical physicist?

In summary, a patient who was administered 9GBq of I-131 and later died from a cardiac arrest should not pose a significant risk to the embalmer if normal procedures for handling dead bodies are followed. If the patient had been released under 10 CFR 35.75, the embalmer's exposure should be discounted. Otherwise, precautions may need to be taken to reduce exposure, but the hospital's radiation protection program likely has procedures in place for such situations.
  • #1
My prof gave this kind of situation:
"Radioiodine therapy has been frequently used to help treat malignancies in the thyroid gland. Assume that a patient was administered 9GBq of I-131, and 27 hours later the patient suffered a cardiac arrest and died. If you were the medical physicist of the hospital. what recommendation would you give to the people involve in the autopsy like the embalmer..?"
so anyone have an idea...?
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  • #2
If 9GBq was administered to a patient it can't be very harmful, and you would get only a tiny fraction of the exposure to the patient if normal procedures for handling dead bodies were followed.
"don't cut out the thyroid and put it on your sandwich" should be enough.
  • #3
Hospitals also have health physicists who are responsible for monitoring occupational doses. If the cardiac patient has been released under 10 CFR 35.75, you discount the dose from the administration of the I-131 to the person, which means you have to determine the exposure to the embalmer (assuming they are monitored) during the procedure and subtract that from their exposure.

As willem2 implied, the dose is not liable to cause any injury, so if the embalmer is not normally monitored, you don't have to do anything special. If the patient had not yet been released, then you need to take pracautions to reduce their exposure. However, the radiation protection program likely has procedures for such situations anyway.

1. What exactly does a medical physicist do?

A medical physicist uses scientific principles and techniques to help diagnose and treat diseases in the medical field. This can include tasks such as calibrating and maintaining medical equipment, developing treatment plans, and conducting research to improve medical technology.

2. What education is required to become a medical physicist?

To become a medical physicist, one must have a bachelor's degree in a related field such as physics, engineering, or mathematics. Many positions also require a master's degree or a doctoral degree in medical physics, which typically includes coursework in biology, anatomy, and medical imaging.

3. What skills are important for a medical physicist to have?

A medical physicist should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as a thorough understanding of scientific principles and techniques. They should also have excellent communication skills, as they often work with a team of medical professionals to develop treatment plans and explain complex concepts to patients.

4. What types of technologies and equipment does a medical physicist work with?

Medical physicists work with a variety of technologies and equipment, including X-ray machines, MRI scanners, ultrasound machines, and radiation therapy machines. They are responsible for ensuring that these machines are properly calibrated and maintained, and they may also develop new technologies to improve patient outcomes.

5. What career opportunities are available for medical physicists?

Medical physicists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, research labs, and government agencies. They may also specialize in specific areas such as diagnostic imaging, radiation oncology, or nuclear medicine. With experience and additional education, medical physicists can also advance to leadership positions or pursue teaching and research opportunities.

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