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The Therac-25 and Its Accident Investigation - Case Study Example

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The machine namely Therac-25 was manufactured by a Canadian company i.e. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in conjunction with a French company, CGR…
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The Therac-25 and Its Accident Investigation
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The Therac-25 and Its Accident Investigation

Download file to see previous pages... the principal of accelerating electrons so as to create high energy beams that can be used to destroy any cancerous cells without affecting the other surrounding non- cancerous tissues. For shallow tissues, accelerated electrons were enough to treat them but for the deeper ones, the electrons beams have to be converted into X-ray photons.
The machine consisted of hardware and software that helped the machine run. The software also monitored the functionality status of the machine and turning on the beam. It was also responsible for turning off the beam and detecting any malfunctions.
The software was responsible for running most of the machine functions in conjunction with the hardware. This therefore means that any small bug in the software will lead to malfunctioning of the machine. The software for running the Therac-25 was not extensively tested before it was deployed for use. This was due failure to follow proper system development and implementation practices. Also the programmer didn’t provide enough documentation about the machine and software errors that could guide operators on when there is malfunction and what to do. The operators therefore were in the dark most of the time despite the machine displaying various error messages as they thought was normal.
The hardware that was used to measure the dosage always provided a wrong dosage reading when it as overloaded. Instead of providing a high reading instead it displayed a low reading when it was actually so high. Another defect was how the machine was made to be operated. The machine was made that the operator and the patient were to be in separate rooms to minimize effect of radiation to the operator. Therefore in case there was any overdose and the patient complaining, the operator could not hear it. Also the operator could not ascertain whether the patient was in the right position every time. This was risky and costly assumptions that lead to the occurrence of the accidents. Therefore, software ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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