View Full Version : FedEx Searching for Radioactive Shipment That Vanished

Ed Jewett
11-26-2010, 07:08 PM
FedEx Searching for Radioactive Shipment That Vanished Between N.D. and Tenn.

By Diane Macedo
Published November 26, 2010
| FoxNews.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. FedEx reports that a shipment of radioactive rods used in medical equipment has vanished while being sent from North Dakota to Tennessee.
FedEx spokeswoman Sandra Munoz says the rods, which are used for quality control in CT scans, were being returned to their manufacturer in Knoxville, Tenn., from a hospital in Fargo, N.D. Three shipments left the hospital earlier this week, but only two arrived at their destination.
"We're looking for that third one," Munoz told FoxNews.com.
Based on tracking information, FedEx is focusing its search in the Tennessee area, Munoz said, but as a normal precaution the company alerted all of its stations "in the event that it got way late and went to another station by accident."
The rods are incased in a metal container called a pig that Munoz says is roughly 10 inches tall and weighs about 20 pounds.
"As long as people do not try to open the metal container they will not be exposed to any remaining radiation," she said. But Fox News Medical Contributor Dr. Marc Siegel says if someone does open the container it could pose some serious health risks.
"I don't believe it has the degree of radiation that, if it were opened, your skin would suddenly slop off. But the concern would be, if this got opened inadvertently and someone didn't know what it was and then was repeatedly exposed to it over several days, it could cause a problem with radiation poisoning," Siegel said. "The people that use this equipment in a hospital use protective shielding with it."
The lesson here, he says, is that active medical material must always be transported in a way that ensures that the general public cannot get access to it.
"Medical devices should not be FedEx'ed. They should be sent under a special service," Siegel said. "There are courier services and several other ways to do that without getting into the general pool. I think that was a mistake that's not generally the way medical supplies are sent.
"If FedEx wants to be involved in transporting medical materials, it should be completely separate and with all kinds of checks and balances so this can't happen," he added.
Munoz says FedEx follows a series of regulations when transporting objects like the rods in this shipment. This was no exception.
"There are regulations on how this type of equipment has to be packaged, the quantities that can be shipped, and we were all within the regulatory requirements," she said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/11/26/fedex-searches-missing-radioactive-equipment/#ixzz16Pv83Sc0

Ed Jewett
11-26-2010, 07:10 PM
I thought I'd simply park the above for at least temporary safekeeping. It could be nothing, it could turn up amidst the holiday transfers of Aunt Minnie's rum cakes, or ...

Ed Jewett
11-27-2010, 04:14 AM
Aunt Minnie's rum cake has been found.

(CNN) -- FedEx on Friday found a package containing radioactive material that went missing a day earlier at one of its shipping stations in Knoxville, Tennessee, the company said.
The package contained a radioactive rod used in CT scans, which use X-rays to create images of patients' bodies.
The shipment was lost in transit between its origination point, a hospital in North Dakota, and the equipment's manufacturer in Tennessee.
FedEx spokeswoman Sandra Munoz said the rod was enclosed in a metal cylinder that was itself enclosed in a rectangular box. That rectangular box had originally been placed in another box that had the shipping information on it.
"We are trying to track down how the package became detached from the original shipment," Munoz said.
FedEx employees found an unlabeled container Friday afternoon and opened it, revealing the metal cylinder, which remained closed.
"FedEx employees were never exposed to the radiation," Munoz said.
Earlier, Munoz had said that if the metal container were opened, there would be some exposure to radiation, but at a low concentration. "There would be some very low-level energy skin absorption there. It would take 1,000 hours of exposure to get skin blisters," she said.
CNN's Greg Morrison contributed to this report.


David Guyatt
11-27-2010, 11:20 AM
Better to be safe, Ed.

Aunt Minni'e rum cake sometimes ends up in the hands of the evil genius Moriarty.