HONESDALE - Wayne Memorial Hospital disputed parts of a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued on February 4th, beginning with the headline. The DEP claimed the hospital agreed to a $15,600 settlement “Over High X-Ray Radiation Levels at Community Health Center.”
On Wednesday, February 6, the DEP took the press release off its website, but has not yet publicly commented.
“Despite what was reported, we have not signed a settlement agreement with the DEP,” said WMH CEO David Hoff. “In addition the incident in question took place at our Wayne Woodlands Outpatient site in Waymart, not at one of our community health centers, our hospital or our Route 6/Waymart site.”
Hoff said a malfunctioning unit at the outpatient site on the Wayne Woodlands campus resulted in three patients who had had lumbar spine X-rays being exposed to higher levels of radiation, “but there was no significant major health risk.” Hoff noted that a physicist’s report determined that the amount of radiation received – 16 times higher than the standard amount—was comparable to that of a nuclear stress test for the heart.
The DEP reported the same increased exposure and encouraged people who had been to the facility between May and September 2018 to consult a medical professional.
“We are not denying the incident took place, but the way it was reported to the public may have been unnecessarily alarming,” Hoff continued. “Many of our patients called and were worried that they had been exposed to dangerously high levels, instead of minimally-risky-to-no-risk levels.”
Wayne Memorial Hospital has addressed and corrected the malfunctioning unit. In addition, it is notifying the three impacted patients.