Ken had some heart issues so his doctor ordered a PET (positron emission topography) scan with a cardiologist. He was injected—via IV—with a radioactive chemical that uses a device such as the CardioGen-82, a nuclear drug delivery system that produces the chemical. Around the same time that Ken was tested, three other patients were tested at a Florida laboratory for strontium levels after setting off scanners at international airports. As a consequence (and unbeknownst to Ken), the FDA asked Bracco Diagnostics, the manufacturer of the CardioGen-82, to recall its device.
"I didn't know anything about this CardioGen-82 and radiation when I was tested, but I remember having a metallic taste in my mouth right after the injection," Ken explains. "They told me it was normal to get that taste so I didn't think anything of it, but I got that taste in my mouth for a long time. I never put two and two together until the Nevada State Health Department and the cardiologist called me last summer, saying I had to come to the cardiologist's office—they needed to talk to me right away.
"As it turns out, the health department was doing some radiation testing at the cardiologist's office. They had three machines set up in his office, all checking radiation levels: I stood under the first one, then a hand-held machine checked me and I sat in front of the third machine for about 10 or 15 minutes.
"They explained that the cardiologist's CardioGen machine had failed. They also told me they were 'checking numbers' and couldn't decipher them on the spot—they had to be sent somewhere else.
"I went on with my life and got kind of worried. How bad could they mess up? Instead of getting help, I could end up getting hurt.
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"So I decided to seek legal help. There is no telling what this radiation is going to do to me. I am scared, on top of being upset, and I am even seeing a psychiatrist to make sure I don't go crazy over all of this.
"I explained the situation to my lawyer, and now I won't have to attempt to contact Bracco anymore. My cardiologist knows I have retained an attorney and he isn't too concerned because likely any liability will fall on the CardioGen machine. But now it is in my lawyer's hands, and I'm finally getting somewhere."