This article is shared with permission from our friends at IFL Science.

An unfortunate series of events involving a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine has led to the death of a man at a hospital in India.

Rajesh Maruti Maru, a 32-year-old, was thrust into the MRI machine on Saturday while he was visiting an elderly relative at the BYL Nair Charitable Hospital in Mumbai, India. As the Hindustan Times reports, the man was apparently told by a junior member of staff to carry a metal cylinder of liquid oxygen into a room containing an MRI machine.

However, the MRI machine was turned on. This caused Maru to be thrust towards it, causing the oxygen tank to rupture and leak. The man later died after inhaling large amounts of oxygen. His body also bled heavily as a result of the accident.

“When we [the hospital staff] told him that metallic things aren’t allowed inside an MRI room, he said ‘sab chalta hai, hamara roz ka kaam hai’ [it’s fine, we do it every day]. He also said that the machine was switched off. The doctor, as well as the technician, didn’t say anything,” Harish Solanki, Maru’s relative, told NDTV.

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“It’s because of their carelessness that Rajesh died,” Solanki added.

Police are currently examining the CCTV footage of the incident and have arrested at least two members of hospital staff for the negligence. The local government has also awarded the man’s family 500,000 rupees ($7,855) in compensation.

“We have arrested a doctor and another junior staff member under section 304 of the Indian penal code for causing death due to negligence,” Mumbai police spokesman, Deepak Deoraj, told AFP.

MRI scanners use incredibly strong magnetic fields, along with electric field gradients and radio waves, to generate highly detailed 3-dimensional images of the body. That’s why you should remove all metal objects and metallic jewelry before going near one of these machines.

It sounds like a freak accident from an urban legend, but remarkably this kind of accident has happened before. A 6-year-old boy was killed in 2001 by an MRI machine in New York after its magnetism caused an oxygen tank to fly towards him, crushing his skull.

Note From The Hearty Soul

While Rajesh’s death was caused by negligence, we at the Hearty Soul feel that it’s important to share some MRI safety considerations for our audience who may need to undergo the procedure. While the machine is harmless when used properly, MRI safety is still important to keep in mind.

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures [1]. While there are no major adverse MRI side effects when operated properly, there are some important things to keep in mind.

Some people may feel claustrophobic when inside the machine as it is a enclosed space. Some machines can have images play on the inside to help with this, but not all machines support this feature so be sure to ask your doctor if this is an option.

When the magnetic fields in the machine are changing, it creates a loud knocking noise that can harm hearing if adequate protection is not used. It can also cause peripheral muscle or nerve stimulation resulting in a twitching feeling.

Patients with implants like artificial joints, or external medical devices like an insulin pump or artificial limb also need to take precautions with the MRI and should inform their doctor of such devices before the procedure [2]

  1. https://www.medicinenet.com/mri_scan/article.htm#what_is_an_mri_scan
  2. https://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/MedicalImaging/MRI/ucm482765.htm

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