The FDA has given Covidien permission to manufacture the medical isotope technetium-99 at its facility in Marland Heights, Mo. Covidien will use molybdenum-99 from South African firm Nuclear Energy to produce the rare isotope.
The National Research Universal reactor in Ontario has restarted operations after it was shut down this week for unscheduled repair work. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited said the production of the molybdenum-99 isotope was not interrupted during the temporary shutdown.
Covidien cautioned of an "extreme shortage" in the supply of molybdenum-99 in May owing to the continued shutdown of the nuclear reactors in the Netherlands and Canada. The company said it plans to continue getting its Mo-99 supply from the reactors in Belgium, France, South Africa and Poland. Covidien last week started producing technetium-99m generators using Mo-99 from the Polish reactor.
Radiologic technologists, including those specializing in CT, MRI, nuclear medicine and other modalities, saw a 2% decrease in average wage in 2009 compared with the previous year, according to a report from health recruiting firm RadSciences Group. The report also said new graduates are having a hard time being hired because many hospitals are not keen to expand their staff in consideration of difficult economic conditions.
Electronic health record systems that describe a patient's status and problems may help prevent diagnostic errors, two experts write in the New England Journal of Medicine. They say the systems can help filter and organize patient information, ensure communication and action in ordering and evaluating tests, and incorporate checklists to ensure key questions are asked and relevant diagnoses are considered.