When doin’ it wrong is fatal


Radiology was quite cool. It is amazing how many things physicians conveniently forget when sending a patient for a scan. Like not sending a proper history and examination report (erm, I’ve done that) or sending a patient without IV-access, or a hysterical patient without some happy medicine.

Or like people who want to evaluate an injured knee with an X-ray. Or projectile vomiting with an MRI.

Interestingly, did you know that MRIs can be really dangerous? Okay, so you only had to watch¬†House M.D.¬†to have seen the lead-based tattoos being burned out of that convict’s skin, so that’s kind of a no-brainer.

What surprises me is that it happens. Tobias Gilk writes about MRI safety and the damage that it can do if approached irresponsibly. It seems a little ironic: MRI’s use no ionising radiation, which makes it a real blessing of a scan. But come to close to it with metal objects and you are looking for trouble.

I don’t know if this is a real image, but according to reports this kind of thing has happened many times before.

Oxygen tanks should not be brought near an MRI-machine. Neither should firearms – they can fire spontaneously. The doctors in the hospital say that they have not had such an incident (touch wood) and I could also not find any details of MRI-related accidents from South Africa. Which is a miracle, since our public hospitals don’t exactly have metal detectors or anything to screen patients prior to MRI.

But, having a look at the numerous pictures and horror stories on the net, it is clear that they happen. I am not a fear monger. I think MRIs are awesome, if indicated. But please people, be safe around those magnets!

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