Healthcare News & Insights

Radioactive package left in Walter Reed lobby for two days

Patients, staff and visitors at the Washington, D.C. military hospital may have gotten an unintentional dose of radiation in May.

Two packages of radioactive material, intended for a hospital administrative officer, were left at the front desk for 44 hours last May, after being accepted by the hospital concierge. They weren’t discovered until the recipient realized the expected delivery date and come and gone.

Hospital officials say radiation levels were 2 millirems an hour — higher than acceptable levels. The average American is exposed to 620 millirems each year. It’s unclear right now how many people were exposed to the radiation — and for how long. To date, there are no reports of illnesses or other adverse effects.

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