Answer to Question #11298 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
If a patient is incontinent and undergoes a diagnostic nuclear medicine study, do I have to worry about exposure from cleaning up an accident if they wet the bed? What if they undergo a positron emission tomography (PET) scan?
The simple answer to this question is "no," assuming one uses disposable gloves when cleaning up the soiled linen. This would be the case for either typical nuclear medicine diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals or PET radiopharmaceuticals. It would be advisable to contact your radiation safety officer (RSO) regarding what to do with the soiled linen.
The radioactive material will decay away fairly rapidly, but your RSO may want to store that linen for a couple of days before it goes to the laundry.
Likewise, any cleaning materials (e.g., paper towels used to clean the vinyl mattress surface) simply should be placed in a plastic bag, and the RSO or the nuclear medicine department will likely take that and store it until the radioactivity decays away.
Mack L. Richard, MS, CHP