Finding a silver lining: the importance of documenting medical tragedies

Judith A. Wiener


The radiation overexposure tragedy at a Columbus, Ohio, hospital impacted hundreds of patient lives and made a lasting impression on the regulation and oversight of the use of radiation medicine on a national level. Archival documentation of the incident and the current-day importance of the data collected during and after the event is discussed and highlights many of the reasons why the history of past medical disasters matters to us today.


Medical History; Medical Tragedies; Columbus, OH; Archives; Radiation Overexposure

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Cohen L, Schultheiss T, Kennaugh R. A radiation overdose incident: initial data. Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys. 1995 Aug 30;33(1):217–24. DOI:



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