New York – An elderly man was allowed to enter the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) room of an imaging center in Medford, New York while carrying a walker made from metal material. The strong magnet in the machine forcefully jerked the walker from his hands, causing him to slip and fall. The victim fell and hit his head, evidently leading to an intracranial hemorrhage and stroke only days later. The head injury and brain damage apparently soon led to the man’s death approximately two months later. The injury victim’s son expressed outrage about the incident and filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against those responsible. The case alleges that negligence on the part of the MRI facility’s staff caused a sequence of events that led to the patient’s wrongful death.
Healthcare experts explain that this type of medical error or accident is a known complication of MRI machines. MRI equipment creates an extremely powerful magnetic force that can pull metal objects across the room with enough speed and strength to cause injuries and death. Many cases have been documented of dangerous objects flying through the air in MRI facilities, including heavy steel oxygen tanks, ambulance stretchers, jewelry, pens or even belts and other articles of clothing. In addition, some medical devices can be a hazard when exposed to an MRI machine’s strong magnet. This can include cardiac pacemakers, aneurysm clips, metal surgical rods and screws, and medication pumps. The dangers of these devices shifting or being dislocated during an MRI must be taken very seriously when doctors and MRI staff select eligible patients. Yet another medical complication linked to MRIs is thermal burns caused by the powerful machines. Due to these dangers of MRI accidents, all establishments are required to maintain strict training and protocols to ensure patient and worker safety. This includes complete explanations to the patient, inspections and checklists to avoid anyone from bringing an unauthorized metal object that could cause an MRI injury into the suite. Some metal is allowed in if it is verified to not be attracted to strong magnets. According to a New York City medical malpractice lawyer, the responsibility to maintain patient and workplace safety remains with the staff and doctors of the MRI company. Read more about how to prevent getting injured during an MRI here.
Photo by English: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons