Once again, the penny pinching bureaucrats running Great Britain’s National Health Service, notable for a euthanasia program that kills 130,000 people a year, may be responsible for creating yet another unhealthy environment for British subjects.
In this case, British dentists have been warned against using a cheap, hand-held x-ray machine on their patients because they pose a significant health risk.
According to the BBC, the imported machines, known as the Tianjie Dental Falcon, expose “users and patients to 10 times the normal level of radiation, increasing their risks of cancer and organ damage.”
Doctors and dentists in such chronically underfunded, government-run health care systems are always looking for ways to curb costs. In this case, it seems as though one cost-cutting measure has been hurting the very patients they were caring for. But other bureaucrats from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency are now asking NHS, as well as private dentists, to get rid of the devices.
Entire skull irradiated
In assessing the damage so far, officials have had to admit they don’t know how many patients have been exposed to the additional risk. So far, 13 of the Chinese-made devices have been seized at a distribution center. Most were sold on Internet sites including eBay, the BBC said. At least one dental surgery office was found to be using the dangerous device.
Officials discovered the devices were emitting excessive radiation during emergency testing of the product by the Health Protection Agency, as well as scientists at King’s College Hospital in London. There, officials found that the devices contained insufficient lead shielding inside of them to protect both dentists and patients from excessive radiation exposure.
In addition, officials found that the hand-held x-ray’s beam is too wide, meaning a patient’s entire skull and brain are needlessly exposed to the additional radiation, not just their teeth.
Further, the device poses an electrical hazard because it comes with a European-style electrical plug and travel adapter not compatible for the United Kingdom’s power system. So, besides being a major fire hazard, the device also could give dentists and patients a dangerous shock.
“Over time someone operating this machine, such as a dental assistant, would be exposed to unacceptable levels of accumulated radiation and this would have an increased risk to their health,” said Donald Emerton, a scientist who tested the device.
“I certainly wouldn’t want someone to use this piece of equipment to take an X-ray of me,” he told the BBC.
The MHRA said it believes the UK’s only distributor of the machines must be shuttered, but said investigations are ongoing to make sure no more of them can be sold and used there.
The agency said issues with the devices first came to light around June. Officials said it wasn’t clear how many of them are in circulation.