Many people fear the MRI machines, but mostly because they have a tendency to cause claustrophobia from the closed-in space you are in. An MRI is a vital piece of diagnostic machinery, but because you are slid into a very tight space, which many folks equate to being inside a torpedo, some people have a tough time going through this medical test.
According to Fox News, a recent accident involving a 32-year-old man has ended in his death after he was sucked into the MRI machine and was stuck inside. An MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging, and it works with very powerful magnets.
As RadiologyInfo.org explains, that an MRI machine uses “powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of the inside of your body.” The images that come from an MRI are much more intricately detailed than those that result from an X-ray.
Because the machine is magnetic, you are told to remove all metal from you before undergoing an MRI. Not all metals are picked up by the MRI magnets, just certain metals called “ferrous metals.” To be on the safe side, you are asked to not wear clothes with metal zippers or with anything else metal on them like buttons or bra snaps. You are also requested to remove all metal jewelry.
What happened in the case of Rajesh Maru on Saturday night is being called a “freak accident,” but it is one that has happened before. He was asked to carry an oxygen cylinder into the MRI room for his relative. He was asked by a junior staff member who worked at the Nair Hospital in Mumbai. He was assured by this staff member that the machine was turned off, which meant the magnets weren’t active. But that wasn’t the case.
The MRI was active at the time, and the force of these magnets dragged him into the machine. During the moments that Maru was dragged into the MRI with such force, his oxygen cylinder was punctured, and this caused a lethal concentration of liquid oxygen to spill. Maru inhaled this and died from it, according to the preliminary police reports. According to Mercury News, Maru was pulled inside the MRI machine where the oxygen cylinder pinned him down, trapping him as the liquid oxygen spilled.
The Guardian reports that it was Maru’s uncle told reporters that it was that junior staff member who allowed him into that room, where no one should have been at the time the machine was active.
According to the Guardian, “Objects containing ferrous metals are pulled towards it and must not be carried into the room” where the MRI is located.
CCTV footage of the horrendous event was handed over to the police as an investigation into Maru’s death continues. The investigation so far has led to two arrests.
A police officer from the Mumbai Police Department, Deepak Deoraj, told reporters, “We have arrested a doctor and another junior staff member under section 304 of the Indian penal code for causing death due to negligence.”
The powerful MRI magnets have been blamed for other deaths as well. It happened in New York back in 2001 when the MRI magnets pulled an oxygen tank into the MRI machine with such force that it crushed the skull of a 6-year-old boy undergoing an MRI at the time. In New Delhi, two hospital workers were pinned between an MRI machine and an oxygen tank for hours inside a hospital.