Case One – Background

Dr. Curie’s research team works on Alzheimer’s disease; they are testing and developing potential drugs to treat this illness. Their work involves the use of radioactive labels to allow them to trace the path of the drug through the bodies of the experimental animals (rats). Laboratory safety rules require that researchers wear a both a “film strip” badge and a personal dosimeter that are checked once per month to insure that they are not exposed to too much radioactivity.

In February of last year Dr. Curie misplaced her “film strip” badge and signed out another when she noticed it was not clipped to its normal spot on her lab-coat. At the end of April she found the missing badge among some papers she had brought home to read and turned it in to the lab at Ramford University for dose calculation even though it was in her home office for two months.  Dr. Simon, the laboratory manager, called Dr. Curie the next day in a very agitated state. The “film strip” badge and personal dosimeter that were from her lab-coat showed normal background levels of radiation consistent with the levels of all the members of the research team for the past two months. The badge that was in her home office indicated levels of radiation that were so high they were “OFF THE CHARTS” according to Dr. Simon.