Author(s): Purdy JA, Biggs PJ, Bowers C, Dally E, Downs W,
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Abstract Ensuring safe operation for a medical accelerator is a difficult task. Users must assume more responsibility in using contemporary equipment. Additionally, users must work closely with manufacturers in promoting the safe and effective use of such complex equipment. Complex treatment techniques and treatment modality changeover procedures merit detailed, unambiguous written procedural instruction at the control console. A thorough "hands on" training period after receiving instructions, and before assuming treatment responsibilities, is essential for all technologists. Unambiguous written instructions must also be provided to guide technologists in safe response when equipment malfunctions or exhibits unexpected behavior or after any component has been changed or readjusted. Technologists should be given a written list of the appropriate individuals to consult when unexpected machine behavior occurs. They should be assisted in identifying aberrant behavior of equipment. Many centers already provide this instruction, but others may not. Practiced response and discussion with technologists should be a part of an ongoing quality assurance program. An important aspect of a safety program is the need for continuous vigilance. Table III gives a summary of a comprehensive safety program for medical accelerators. Table IV gives a list of summary recommendations as an example of how one might mitigate the consequences of an equipment failure and improve procedures and operator response in the context of the environment described. Most of these recommendations can be implemented almost immediately at any individual treatment center.
This article was published in Med Phys
and referenced in Journal of Nuclear Medicine & Radiation Therapy