Jump to content

1996 San Juan de Dios radiotherapy accident

Coordinates: 9°55′57″N 84°5′5″W / 9.93250°N 84.08472°W / 9.93250; -84.08472
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cobalt-60 Teletherapy Capsule

The radiotherapy accident in Costa Rica occurred within the Alcyon II radiotherapy unit at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, Costa Rica. It was related to a cobalt-60 source that was being used for radiotherapy in 1996. An accidental overexposure of radiotherapy patients treated during August and September 1996 was detected. During the calibration process done after the change of 60Co source on 22 August 1996, a mistake was made in calculating the dose rate, leading to severe overexposure of patients. The error of calibration was detected on 27 December 1997. In the course of the accident, 114 patients received an overdose of radiation and 13 died of radiation-related injuries.[1][2]

In 2001, the radiophysicist whose mistake caused the radiation overdoses was charged with 16 culpable homicides and sentenced to six years in prison.[3]

See also



  1. ^ Medical management of radiation accidents pp. 299 & 303.
  2. ^ Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine p. 15.
  3. ^ Zúñiga, Alejandro. "CRC Daily: Costa Rica's 1996 radiotherapy tragedy". costaricadaily.substack.com. Retrieved 2021-01-05.

9°55′57″N 84°5′5″W / 9.93250°N 84.08472°W / 9.93250; -84.08472