Probe into MRI-related death focuses on safety training

An investigation into the death of a man pulled into the bore of an MRI scanner in India has found that two hospital employees who were at the scene were not from the radiology department, and they weren't trained on proper MRI safety protocols.

Both employees of BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai have been charged with negligence, according to a January 30 report in the Indian Express. One of the staff members allegedly asked 32-year-old Rajesh Maru to carry the tank into the MRI suite for the man's mother-in-law who was about to have a scan. As he did, Maru was drawn into the scanner's bore, where he died within minutes.

The Indian Express also quotes Maru's brother-in-law as saying the deceased man "vanished in a second" from the pull of the MRI magnet and began to inhale "fumes from the mouth and nose after the nozzle of cylinder broke open. Within 15 seconds, his body had bloated up and turned black."

To avoid such accidents, the hospital has four safety zones within its radiology department, according to the article. One zone is for the public to wait for patients and where metallic objects should be removed. The second and third zones include MRI console controls, while the fourth zone is the MRI room.

The news reports stated that Maru and other family members accompanying the patient removed metallic items before entering the magnet room per protocol, and the patient was even transferred from a conventional gurney to an MRI-compatible trolley. But an attendant allegedly told Maru to pick up the oxygen cylinder from the gurney and carry it into the room, claiming that the MRI scanner "was switched off."

Normally, Brihanmumbai Municipal provides two weeks of training for technicians, physicians, and staff on protocol within and around an MRI suite, according to the Indian Express.

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