A drawn-out fight over the guidelines for thyroid patients who are given radioactive drugs has taken a new turn, with a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, America that it is not a good idea for them to go to hotels.
Patients who are given radioactive iodine used to be quarantined in a hospital so they would not irradiate others.
Under Nuclear Regulatory Commission, America rules, patients are supposed to be told to follow certain precautions, like staying away from other people, especially children and pregnant women. But patients who live in a household with children or pregnant women or who travel hundreds of miles from treatment, sometimes stay in hotels, and safety advocates said that in those settings, hotel workers – including pregnant workers – could be repeatedly exposed. On Monday, 14th February 2011 the commission said that it had issued new guidance to doctors that hotel stays were “strongly discouraged.” It said it was responding to “continuing concerns.”
Representative Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, had ridiculed the commission’s earlier guidance. One class of radiation patient did have to be quarantined under commission regulations, he pointed out – house cats.
After the commission’s announcement, he said he would introduce legislation to tighten the rules. “I welcome the small step N.R.C. took to advise patients against recovering from radioactive treatments in hotels, where they might unwittingly expose members of the public to radiation,” he said in a statement. “I continue to believe that more needs to be done to fully protect the public from these ‘drive-through’ radiation treatments.”