MRI machines help doctors to see inside your body and diagnose what is ailing you, but mistakes can hurt or even kill you, as a recent incident has shown. A Mumbai resident, Rajesh Maru, died last Saturday after getting pulled into an MRI machine along with an oxygen cylinder he allegedly carried into the room for his ailing relative. The accident occurred at the BMC-run Nair Hospital. The incident has raised questions over the safety of the MRI machines.
The accident happened even as the machine wasn’t switched on at the time. However, it is to be noted that an MRI machine’s magnetic field is on even when it isn’t scanning. A sign on the door shows a magnet inside the triangle that is universally recognised as a symbol of warning. The use of the machine even after the end of its life is yet another factor to care for. The MRI machines normally have a life of 8-9 years but the one in question was 9 years old. However, the Radiology department of the Hospital maintained that it was functioning well. A report by The Indian Express says that the police has also questioned allowing the oxygen cylinder into the MRI room. Notably, in a similar case in Navi Mumbai in 2014, a ward boy of the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research, and Education in Cancer, Sunil Jadhav had mistakenly brought in an oxygen cylinder. He and the cylinder were pulled in, and they took technician Swami Ramaiah, who was in the way, along. Ramaiah, who was stuck in the machine for 4 hours, temporarily lost sensation waist downward, suffered kidney damage and urinary bladder puncture.
How to prevent an MRI accident?
MRIs may lead to burns, therefore, it is advisable never to touch the inner walls of the machine. MRIs use RF transmitters and can cause heat. MRI operators are advised to put material between the patient and the wall if there is a risk of the patient coming in contact with it. MRIs can also lead to hearing loss as the machine can be quite loud. Thus, it is important that patients and anyone else near the machine should be given adequate earplugs or protective earphones. Making sure that there are no unexpected wires or metallic objects near the machine is yet another thing one must do in order to ensure his/her safety. As a patient, one must fill the questionnaire honestly as any unawareness on the operator’s part may lead to a nightmare. If an individual as an artificial leg or even a wig, he/she must honestly tell the MRI operator before the scanning process takes place.