THE DEATH of a man, who got sucked into a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at a Mumbai hospital on Saturday, has set alarm bells ringing at hospitals in Chandigarh. The authorities of the city’s three major hospitals – Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and Government Multi Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16 – have ordered a safety review.
In the Mumbai incident, the man, Rajesh Maru, who was accompanying his ailing relative, walked into the MRI room with a metallic oxygen cylinder. No metallic objects are allowed into the MRI room.
PGI Director Dr Jagat Ram told Chandigarh Newsline that he has sought comments from the Department of Radio Diagnosis and Imaging to know the precautions taken during MRI tests. “All necessary measures would be taken to ensure the patient’s safety,” he said, adding that north India’s premier medical hub conducts over 100 MRIs per day.
In 2015, an MRI machine at PGI had attracted an incompatible pulse oximater thta was being carried by a hospital attendant. No one was hurt in the incident. PGI has now installed ferromagnetic detectors at the entrance to the MRI room. The institute has also divided the MRI areas into various zones.
All the wheelchairs and even cylinders are stopped in zone 1, from where patients are taken to the waiting area (zone 2 ). “It is in zone 2 where the history of the patient is noted…,” said Professor Paramjeet Singh of the Department of Radio Diagnosis and Imaging, PGI.
In zone 3, called the control area, patients are brought inside under the supervision of the staff and all small items, including jewellery, are kept in lockers. The machine is installed in zone 4, where metal objects are strictly not allowed. It is here where metal detectors are installed.
“We have installed ferromagnetic detectors at the MRI room’s entrance. Even if a person is carrying some minor metallic objects, the detector will turn red and a beep will emanate to alert the staff,” said Singh. PGI has installed CCTV cameras at the MRI centre.
Sources at GMCH, Sector 32, said the head of the Department of Radio Diagnosis has asked the department to take extra measures in view of the incident. “A message was circulated and we were told to be more careful while doing MRI,” said a senior official of the department, adding that PGI has four hand-held metal detectors, which are used to identify metal objects.
“In view of patient safety, we don’t conduct MRIs of patients wearing metal caps in their teeth,” said the official.
UT Health Director Dr G Dewan told Chandigarh Newsline that he has given directions to the concerned department to remain extra vigilant to prevent such incidents. “GMSH is following the laid down Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) while conducing MRIs. But, after the Mumbai Incident, I have ordered a review and asked the concerned doctors to remain extra vigilant,” he said.