Pa. doc at center of VA cancer probe admits errors

By MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press Writer

Jun 29, 5:39 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A doctor accused of botching dozens of prostate cancer surgeries at a Veterans Administration hospital admitted Monday that he sometimes missed his target when implanting radioactive seeds, leaving patients with incorrect dosages.  But Dr. Gary D. Kao called the mistakes commonplace in aiming seeds at the walnut-sized prostate, which sits near the bladder and rectum, and he steadfastly refused to become a scapegoat for the scandal at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.  But Dr. Gary D. Kao called the mistakes commonplace in aiming seeds at the walnut-sized prostate, which sits near the bladder and rectum, and he steadfastly refused to become a scapegoat for the scandal at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.  “Contrary to the allegations that I was a ‘rogue’ physician, … I always acted in the best interest of the patients in delivering this important treatment,” Kao, a radiation oncologist, testified at a Senate field hearing at the hospital, where he worked from 2002 to 2008.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found that 92 of 116 men treated in the hospital’s brachytherapy program received incorrect doses of the radiation seeds, often because they landed in nearby organs or surrounding tissue rather than the prostate. Kao performed the majority of the procedures under a VA contract with the University of Pennsylvania, where he was on staff.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_VA_HOSPITAL_ERROR?SITE=ORBAK&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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