In light of the unfortunate medical accident that resulted in death of a patient's relative in BMC run Nayar Hospital Mumbai let's revisit the safety guidelines for MRI.
MRI magnet is “ALWAYS ON” even when patient is not being scanned so it needs extreme precautions while wheeling in the patient.
Safety is of paramount importance for staff, students, patients and relatives. Unauthorized person should NEVER BE ALLOWED to wheel in patients.
Staff and hospital personnel wheeling in admitted patients who need assistance in terms of oxygen or even OPD patients who have relatives accompanying them must be extra careful. Under NO circumstances Oxygen Cylinders, metal trolleys, wheelchairs should ever be allowed in the MRI field zone
Consent forms are a must for patients and if patients is incapacitated due to any reasons then its the relatives responsibility to assist, check and understand it in detail
Adequate signages in local language apart from the ones in English to be placed.
Pacemakers are a complete contraindication and they should never ever reach the MRI zone under any circumstances and a BRIGHTLY COLORED line must be drawn – significance of which is to mark out area which is a “ NO GO” zone so no one can enter that space around the magnet even when the room is closed not even hospital personnel who are not trained and qualified to be in that room should be in its vicinity
Safety training schedule must for diagnostic centers and hospitals to train staff who is wheeling in patient and getting their relatives in the MRI ROOM especially when the patient is a child so safety can be engrained right from the beginning
The focus should now be on safety training videos, these should be screened and projected in loops in MRI waiting area, this should be a protocol now on and the patients and relatives need to see it. This will keep the staff and relatives with the patient on alert mode and they are informed regarding the safety rules associated with a MRI scanner. These videos must also be used to train any new personnel who is going to join the department so that he is well aware. Usually the doctors and technicians are well aware however the personnel who has unauthorized entry into the MRI filed area can create potential hazards to himself, relatives or the patient.
There should be no exceptions to above rules even if the personal in a hospital personnel although working in a different department as he should also be concerned as not qualified and given same instructions and should follow and adhere to the rules and protocols laid down.
New staff has to be trained, groomed and advised and assessed after safety protocols have been clearly informed and they have done a written assessment of the same
If there is no screening of patient and relative (the accompanying person) / that means equivalent to a complete “Ban to Enter” MRI. This discipline has to be adhered to.
There is a good way to describe Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that is Metal can Result in Injury – this should never be forgotten and these are very powerful magnets and has to be dealt with professionally.
-INDIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION