In a 1991 report, the capital city, San Jose had about 1.11 million inhabitants. The Costa Rican social security system, which is mandated to provide medical cover, reported 90% coverage for the population. The life expectancy was reported to be at 75.2 years between the years 1990 and 1995. Integral in the treatment of cancer in Costa Rica are three hospitals which also act as referral centres for the different segments of the country. These include the San Juan de Dios Hospital, the Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia Hospital and the Mexico Hospital. Of significance and relevant to the case study is the San Juan de Dios Hospital which has radiotherapy facilities (International Atomic Energy Agency, 1998).
During the month of July 1997, the international atomic energy association received an invitation from the government of Costa Rica to aid in assessment of overexposure of radiotherapy. This overexposure had occurred to patients in San Jose Hospital in Costa Rica. The initiating occurrence specifically happened at San Juan de Dios hospital in San Jose on the 22nd of August, 1996. This was after a radioactive carbon source, 60 CO was replaced. When the new source was standardized, an inaccuracy was made in the computation of dose rate. Consequently, this error led to administration of considerable higher radiation doses compare to the prescribed intake in terms of exposure (International Atomic Energy Agency, 1998). ...Show more