Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security It's funny.  Laugh. Medicine Transportation News Technology

FedEx Misplaces Radioactive Rods 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the sign-here-for-your-tumors-sir dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "A shipment of radioactive rods used in medical equipment has vanished while being sent by FedEx from North Dakota to Tennessee. Based on tracking information, FedEx is focusing its search in the Tennessee area, but as a normal precaution the company alerted all of its stations 'in the event that it got waylaid and went to another station by accident.' Dr. Marc Siegel says if someone opens 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 slough 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,' says Siegel. 'The people that use this equipment in a hospital use protective shielding with it.' The lesson is that active medical material must always be transported in a way that ensures the general public cannot get access to it. 'Medical devices should not be FedExed. They should be sent under a special service,' adds Siegel."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FedEx Misplaces Radioactive Rods

Comments Filter:
  • But I did get this box of great door props the other day from Fedex.

    Just jammed the rod right under the door at the office, works like a charm.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:24PM (#34352378)

    TFA clearly states that the rods were located and its radioactive container was not opened.

    "The rods were incased in a metal container called a "pig" that contains their radiation. Munoz said when they were recovered at the Knoxville station Friday no one had opened that casing."

    "Everything's fine, the pig itself was not opened, and we're making arrangements to deliver it to the recipient," Munoz said.

  • Man, I thought it was bad when the Canada Post delivery guy was stealing my review copies of video games from Activision.

  • The article linked actually says they already found them. What is with these craptastic and sensationalist titles today?
    • The article linked actually says they already found them. What is with these craptastic and sensationalist titles today?

      Have you considered the slight possibility that when this story was submitted to /. the rods were missing, and have been found (and TFA updated) since?

      • Yes but its an editor's job to review that kind of thing before putting it on the front page - or at least appending an update to the bottom of the article (as they sometimes do for bigger stories)

        • Yes but its an editor's job to review that kind of thing before putting it on the front page - or at least appending an update to the bottom of the article (as they sometimes do for bigger stories)

          Slashdot has editors?

          • He MUST be new here.

          • by jc42 (318812)

            More to the point: Fox News has editors? ;-)

            If you'd glanced at the link in the summary, you might have noticed the .foxnews.com domain. And they did their usual trick of updating the story in place, even after the story had significantly changed by the discovery of the missing package, and not giving readers a clue that a major change had taken place.

            (And, no, Fox isn't nearly the only online news source that this this sort of thing. ;-)

            • In a truly shocking development on here, I did actually read TFA ;)

              As an 'other side of the political spectrum' example, BBC online news regularly update stories in place too. As Tom Jones says, "It's not unusual.." :)

              • by jc42 (318812)

                Yeah; it's taking a while for the field of journalism to establish standards for such things. Updating in place wasn't possible with earlier kinds of publication, but it's easy enough with computerized reporting.

                With all the criticisms of the /. editors, this is something that they usually seem to get right. The usual practice here is to label updates as such, and include the time. Maybe eventually this will be standard practice with the mass media, too.

                Or not. So far, the indications haven't been encou

                • I don't know what you think, but I find that the attitude of a news source to updating-in-place depends on their background. A newspaper-owned site will usually have a mindset of an article being 'published' and then staying the same (like a printed newspaper); whereas a broadcaster's site will often consider the news to be an ever-evolving narrative, and see nothing wrong with altering a web article to reflect later developments.

                  Personally, considering that web news is text based and archivable, I would co

                  • by jc42 (318812)

                    I would consider a newspaper to be the nearest offline cousin and would rather that web news was persistent as a historical record. The idea of articles changing silently seems a little Orwellian to me. It can be very useful to know what the news was, even if it later transpired to be wrong.

                    I think you've pinpointed the main point of the issue. Changing a "news" report as the info comes in may make sense if you're thinking only of the present. But it discards the historical value of the reporting. A record that shows who knew what when is much more useful, after the fact, than just a statement of what we (thought we) knew when it was all over.

                    In this particular story, all we're left with is "FedEx lost a package containing radioactive medical material, and then found it". If that's the onl

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:26PM (#34352404)

    If it glows, it goes.

  • FedEx CEO gets called in the middle of the night.
    "Yeah, uh, boss..."
    "*Yawn* Just spit it out, man."
    "It's about the rods, sir."
    "The rods?"
    "The radioactive rods, sir."
    "What %$^&ing idiot would send radioactive rods through FedEx, anyway? So, what about the radioactive rods?"
    "S-sir... We lost them, sir."
    "%$^&."
  • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:29PM (#34352438) Homepage
    According to TFA the rods have now been recovered, unopened at a FedEx facility in Knoxville. Panic over.
  • This is supposed to be "News for Nerds" - so why link to a Fox News article with almost no technical information whatsoever? For example: what nuclide was involved? How high was the activity?
    After some searching on Google News, I found this article [go.com]. Apparently, it was 684 MBq of Germanium (which should mean it's 76Ge). Unfortunately, that isotope is not in any of my data sheets, so I can't tell you what that means in terms of dose rate...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Apparently, it was 684 MBq of Germanium (which should mean it's 76Ge). Unfortunately, that isotope is not in any of my data sheets, so I can't tell you what that means in terms of dose rate...

      Correction: it was 68Ge. As I stated, I couldn't find it in my data sheets, so I just looked at a list of germanium isotopes - which only listed naturally occurring ones. Silly me!

      I do however have data for the next step in the decay chain, 68Ga (68Ge decays by electron capture, so let's just disregard that first decay). The first sheet I found put it at 0.103 mSv/h/MBq beta skin dose and 0.173 mSv/h/MBq gamma at 30 cm. At 684 MBq, that means a dose rate of about 70 and 120 mSv/h at 30 cm, respectively.
      So n

      • by ozbird (127571)
        Yep - most likely fuel for a Gallium-68 generator [wikipedia.org], which is used as a positron source for calibrating PET scanners (article says "CT scanner" but meh, details - it's lost nucular stuff!)
    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      This is supposed to be "News for Nerds" - so why link to a Fox News article with almost no technical information whatsoever?

      Because slashdot editors just don't give a damn anymore.

  • Just last week we shipped some laptops from one work location to another, and had to go through the process of getting proper package labeling due to the lithium ion batteries being contained inside. After getting everything labeled per their regulations, FedEx rejected and returned the shipment because there were two parentheses missing in the shipping label text. We added the two parentheses and it shipped fine.

    • Just last week we shipped some laptops from one work location to another, and had to go through the process of getting proper package labeling due to the lithium ion batteries being contained inside. After getting everything labeled per their regulations, FedEx rejected and returned the shipment because there were two parentheses missing in the shipping label text. We added the two parentheses and it shipped fine.

      What's wrong with that? They're parentheses for God's sake! They're important.

      Don't you know anything about programming?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jon Abbott (723)

        Don't you know anything about programming?

        I was talking about shipping packages, not programming. Don't you know anything about marsupials? :^P

  • by pickens (49171) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:45PM (#34352616) Journal
    Actually at the time this story was submitted, the rods had not been located.

    The story was updated on the Fox News Site after the rods were found but they kept the original URL.

    Here is the cached version of the story at the time it was submitted as a story to Slashdot.

    http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=radioactive+rods+fox+news&d=1094018597270&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=d977f9e4,d2527ef2 [bingj.com]

    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.
    • by CCarrot (1562079)

      ... 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 ... ...your skin would suddenly slop off. ... ... must always be transported in a way that ensures that the general public cannot get access to it.

      Okay, who did the frigging editing on this article?

      It's not "way late", it's "waylaid"...which can, in some cases, make things 'way late', but that's not the point...
      Things cannot be "incased", only "encased"...
      Since when does radiation cause skin to "slop" off? Slough off, perhaps...

      With all this, it's a minor miracle that they actually used the right spelling for "ensures"...

      Seriously, doesn't anybody proof-read articles before sending them out any more? I'm not usually a spelling/grammar nazi, but slo

    • I know you are just posting a quote, but for the record CT scanners are not calibrated with these radioactive pins, PET scanners are.

  • Did they sent it Smartpost? That's the best way to lose a package. From Dallas to Chicago to Los Angeles to San Francisco to Ogden to Los Angeles to San Diego to Los Angeles and out for delivery. Maybe.
  • The real problem is illustrated by all the videos of teenagers whacking each other with fluorescent bulbs across the back, till they bleed of shattered glass, just so that they can get featured on Break.com. Clearly radioactive rods are next.
  • Just fill the medical kits at all of the stations with Rad-X and Rad-away and you're golden.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:40PM (#34353128)

    ... some dumbasses from FedEx delivered me radioactive rods, instead of blood diamonds. The Princess was not amused, and said that a necklace of radioactive rods would not get her a place on Dancing with the Stars!

    The royal physician snooped around with his Geiger counter, before screaming "Holy fucking shit! Jesus fucking Christ!" He then proceeded to get his hairy ass out of the Royal Quarters.

    If anyone is interested in buying radioactive bars, please send me your bank account IDs, passwords, and anything else that you shouldn't send to strangers.

  • As anyone searching for "Goiania 1986 Cesium" can note, one of the more serious radioactive accidents ever to take place in the World was due to Cesium used for medical purposes from an X-ray machine

  • Ra-di-a-tion! Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too.

  • ... this shipment of metal rods that seem always to be warm. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what happened to the inflatable sex doll I ordered.
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:28PM (#34355650)

    I've sent hazardous materials, some radioactive via a variety of carriers. LET ME TELL YOU that FedEx is much worse. They go blabbing all over the news making an embarrassing lot of fuss and generally alarming the public when they lose something like this. UPS however they just don't care. Lose a pound of plutonium, no big deal, happens all the time just fill in the insurance claim and go on your way and we certainly won't tell anyone.

    So yes it is not sensible at all to use FedEx for these sorts of things. Way too much hassle.

  • On their answering machine. True story... an acquaintance once received a package that was large, and low density, filled with a lot of foam peanuts. There were scuff marks on the top of the package, and the single layer of tape down the seam on top was not stuck to the cardboard. The package contained not only HIS goods, but also a much smaller package of heavy machine parts... FROM someone else, TO someone else. The smaller package had clearly fallen onto his, and had enough momentum to open the flap and
  • old news (Score:2, Funny)

    by gzuckier (1155781)
    Yeah, I see something like that on the intro to the Simpsons every week.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

Working...