The radiation dose to accompanying nurses, relatives and other patients in a nuclear medicine department waiting room was assessed at 5 min intervals by observing the seating arrangement. The total radiation dose to each person was calculated, using fixed values of dose rate per 100 MBq activity for radionuclides, and applying the inverse square law. Radioactive decay and attenuation effects due to intervening persons were also taken into account. The median radiation doses to accompanying nurses, relatives and other patients were 2.3, 2.0 and 0.2 μSv with maximum values of 17, 33 and 5 μSv respectively. In all cases, the radiation dose received by patients was less than 0.2% of the radiation dose resulting from their own investigation. Also, the maximum radiation dose received by an accompanying nurse or friend was less than 1% of their appropriate annual dose limit. Similar values were obtained with calculations based on a 15 min time interval.
The radiation doses received by those in a nuclear medicine department waiting room are small, and separate waiting room facilities for radioactive patients are unnecessary.
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