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MRI Mishap Injures Two Men

There’s a reason that metal objects are not allowed in the room where an MRI operates. After all, the “M” stands for “magnetic.” This video from four years ago shows exactly what damage an metal oxygen tank can do in an MRI. On Saturday, an oxygen tank pancaked two men into an MRI at Tata Memorial Hospital in Khargar, India.

During the process of carrying out the scan, the attending doctor asked Jadhav to fetch an oxygen mask. Jadhav, who had never worked in the MRI room and had no idea that no metal is allowed anywhere near the machine, thought he was asked to bring in an oxygen cylinder.

As soon as he entered the room with the cylinder, the machine pulled him with such brute force that he flew towards the machine with the cylinder still in his left arm and carried Ramaiah with him. Before anybody in the room knew what was happening, Jadhav and Ramiah were stuck to the machine. And they remained glued to it four hours.

While the machine can be switched off, deactivating its magnetic field is a complex process. Both Jadhav and Ramiah lost consciousness after a couple of hours of fruitless attempts to wrench them out.

The orderly Sunil Jadhav, age 28, suffered a fractured elbow. Technician Swami Ramaiah, age 35, was pushed into the MRI by the tank and Jadhav. He suffered multiple injuries, and is hospitalized with a punctured bladder, kidney damage, internal bleeding, and nerve damage to his legs. Read more about the incident at the Mumbai Mirror. -via Arbroath


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Usually there is an option to do an emergency shutdown of the magnetic field, although I don't know how ubiquitous that is, and without proper setup of the room it might not be possible. And it tends to be very expensive to start the machine back up, involving tens of thousands of dollars of liquid helium, plus a lot of technician time. And there is still some risk to physical damage to the machine, or venting enough helium into the room to cause an asphyxiation hazard, if the room isn't setup well. Maybe they didn't have the option, or deemed it not life-threatening enough to risk using.
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