A man in India has reportedly died after being yanked toward a magnetic resonance imagining machine. Rajesh Maru was visiting a relative at a hospital in Mumbai and had been handed a metal oxygen cylinder to carry. After being mistakenly told the machine was off, Mr. Maru entered the MRI room and the powerful magnetic field pulled the oxygen cylinder toward it.
Maru may have died from inhaling liquid oxygen from the damaged cylinder. Two hospital staff members have been arrested for causing death by negligence.
Here’s more from Live Science:
MRI imaging is quite safe for human tissue, but introducing metal near the machines can be deadly. That’s because the MRI machine works by using large magnets to create strong magnetic fields, 1,000 times the strength of a standard refrigerator magnet.
It’s that strong magnetic field that can prove dangerous if there’s any metal in the room when the machine is switched on, as the magnet will yank metal objects toward it. Patients must remove any metal from their bodies before getting scanned; anyone with certain metal implants that can’t be removed (most older pacemakers, for example) can’t get an MRI scan.
Occasionally, metal objects brought into the room during scans cause tragic accidents. In 2014, a technician at another hospital in Mumbai spent 4 hours wedged inside an MRI machine after he was pinned between a ward assistant carrying an oxygen cylinder and the scanner. The technician lost blood circulation below the waist and was temporarily paralyzed; he also suffered organ damage and internal bleeding, according to the Mumbai Mirror. Last year, the maker of the machine, General Electric, paid the technician a settlement of 10 million rupees (about $157,000).
The most common MRI injuries, though, are burns, according to a 2008 report by The Joint Commission, a nonprofit healthcare accreditation agency. When metal is left inside a patient’s body — or a tattoo containing metallic pigments is overlooked — the magnetic fields induced by the MRI can create electrical currents in that metal, potentially heating up the soft tissue around it.
So, the next time you are having a scan in a MRI machine, make sure you don’t have any metal around you or inside of you. And when you’re visiting the hospital, be aware that these powerful machines are in use. It doesn’t hurt to check that the door you are opening doesn’t lead to the MRI room… Signage is your friend!
Have you ever had a MRI scan?