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Keeping Children Safe

Sometimes, doctors need to perform computed tomography (CT) scans or X-rays on very sick children to obtain images of their internal organs and bones. While these scans do contain some radiation, staff at Saint Francis Medical Center take extra precautions to ensure children are exposed to minimal radiation levels.

Dr. Mark L. Gates, MD
Dr. Mark L. Gates, MD

Saint Francis participates in a national program, Image Gently, which encourages hospitals and clinics to lower radiation doses in children when possible. “We have automatic settings on our machines that markedly reduce the amount of radiation a child is exposed to,” says Mark L. Gates, MD, radiologist at Saint Francis. “We also manually change the settings to minimize that exposure.”

“Children in Saint Francis’ Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit only weigh a few pounds, so they do not have natural shielding,” continues Gates. “Our machines are completely digital, which allows us to significantly reduce the amount of radiation.”

For more information, call 573-331-3000.

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