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Radioactive patient sets off anti-terrorism sensor in subway

Written by:
Steve Waldrop
October 23, 2003

A Graves disease patient currently being treated with radioactive iodine has twice set off anti-terrorism sensors located in Manhattan subway stations. The 34-year-old man returned to his New York treatment center several weeks later, complaining that he had been stripped search each time. Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the thyroid.

The patient was held for further questioning after NY police identified him as the one emitting radiation.
This would indicate that New York City and perhaps other cities have installed radiation detection devices.

The New York City Police Department's Terrorism Task Force was contacted and asked how to prevent other patients from being detained.

In their reply, the police stated that the patient should have a letter indicating the date and time of treatment. Also a description of the isotope used and its dose, and its biological half-life. The letter should also include the name and 24-hour contact telephone number of the physician.

The patient would still have to wait while authorities verified the contents of the letter.

Doctors warn that people undergoing radioactive medical treatments risk the possibility of triggering sensors in public places and being stripped searched by the police.