1990 Clinic of Zaragoza Radiotherapy Accident

December 7, 1990 in Zaragoza, Spain.

After a malfunction of the electron accelerator used to treat patients with tumors at the Zaragoza Clinic, a repairman was sent out to fix the machine.

Zaragoza Clinic

On December 20, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Board conducted its annual inspection of the machine and discovered that for almost two weeks, the machine had been radiating patients.  It had been emitting approximately six times the normal dosage of radiation.

Patients suffered burns and inflammation of internal organs.  Over the next year, 18 patients died.  Nine patients survived the overdose, but suffered the effects of the radiation for the rest of their lives.

The case was taken to court and it was ruled that the malfunction had been the fault of the repairman and the American General Electric Company, the supplier of the machine and the owner of the maintenance contract.

Radiation Treatment Machine

The equipment was repaired and used until 1996 when it was disposed of secretly to avoid additional publicity.

A video summary of this week’s post can be found at

Sources/Photo Credits

2 thoughts on “1990 Clinic of Zaragoza Radiotherapy Accident

  1. Thanks for always making your post full of truly captivating diversified stories. This particular tale makes one ponder how in life anything can alter. What helps someone today can be what hurts another the next. We constantly must be alert, aware, and conscious in order to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances, but even then we can’t always control an outcome. At least the error was recognized and swiftly corrected without a cover-up. Prayers and love to all Persons/ Families affected by this tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

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