Friday, August 19, 2005

Hospital MRIs attracting all kinds of trouble (sorta funny NYT article)

This ain't from The Onion folks. I wanna say this is funny but it's not really, but it's still something you have to almost laugh at: New York Times is reporting about the rising frequency of ferrous objects flying through the air toward the super-powerful magnets in hospital magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment...
M.R.I.'s Strong Magnets Cited in Accidents

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

Published: August 19, 2005

The pictures and stories are the stuff of slapstick: 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.

The magnets inside M.R.I. scanners can pull in office furniture.

The police officer whose pistol flew out of his holster and shot a wall as it hit the magnet. The sprinkler repairman whose acetylene tank was yanked inside, breaking its valve and starting a fire that razed the building.

But the bigger picture is anything but funny, medical safety experts say. As the number of magnetic resonance imaging scanners in the country has soared from a handful in 1980 to about 10,000 today, and as magnets have quadrupled in power, careless accidents have become more frequent. Some have caused serious injuries and even death.

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.

Safety guidelines drawn up by the American College of Radiology in 2002 and revised last year "have no teeth and are floating out there in intellectual Never-Never Land," Tobias Gilk, a Kansas City architect who designs medical scanning rooms, said.

He continued: "The X-ray in your dentist's office is more heavily regulated."

Hit here if you're attracted to the rest of the story. There's some pretty funny pictures there too, like one showing an office chair lodged inside an MRI.

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