MRI machines are extremely safe if used properly. However in the years since the device first went into widespread use, there have been "hundreds or thousands" of incidents where objects became magnetized and attracted to MRI machines.
MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a procedure used in hospitals to scan patients and determine the severity of certain injuries. An MRI machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body. Common reasons people go in to get an M.R.I. are for a sprained ankle or back pain. MRI machines are extremely safe if used properly. However in the years since the device first went into widespread use, there have been "hundreds or thousands" of incidents where objects became magnetized and attracted to MRI machines. The items have included cigarette lighters, paper clips, clipboards, wheelchairs, gurneys and even floor polishers jammed deep inside M.R.I. scanners whose powerful magnets grabbed them from the hands of careless hospital workers.
No one knows how many have occurred. But the safety experts say there is no doubt they are on the rise, and their growing frequency is prompting widespread calls for more regulation. Most accidents are caused by human error, not scanner malfunction. Although the Food and Drug Administration approves the scanners as medical devices, it does not regulate how their operators behave.
The most notorious accident was the death of 6-year-old Michael Colombini in 2001 at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y. He was sedated in a scanner after a brain operation when his oxygen supply failed. An anesthesiologist ran for an oxygen tank and failed to notice that the one he found in the hall outside was made of steel. As he returned, the tank shot out of his hands, hitting Michael in the head.
Another serious incident at Rochester, N.Y., hospital involved an MRI pulling a gun out of a police officer's hand and discharged a shot. Fortunately no one was injured.
Although there are ways to make scanning rooms safer - with architectural changes, new types of metal detectors and precautions to ensure that patients and visitors are not wearing or carrying ferromagnetic metal - the measures are not required by law or the medical profession, and only some scanner operators use them.The National Institutes of Health has stressed the danger of leaving objects that can be magnetized near the machine.
By Stanford Magnets, http://www.stanfordmagnets.com/.
Based in California, Stanford Magnets has been involved in the R&D and sales of licensed Rare-earth permanent magnets, Neodymium magnets and SmCo magnets, ceramic magnets, flexible magnets and magnetic assemblies since the mid of 1980s. We supply all these types of magnets in a wide range of shapes, sizes and grades