Cincinnati Children's Blog

Why We Have MRI Safety Week In Our Department

Why We Have MRI Safety Week In Our Department

The last week of July we always commemorate MRI Safety Week, in our Radiology Department at Cincinnati Children’s. We celebrate our MRI safety knowledge and efforts we put towards MRI safety all week long. Why the last week of July and why such a huge emphasis on MRI safety?

July 31, 2001, marked the day Michael Colombini 6-year-old boy died after undergoing an MRI exam at a New York-area hospital when the machine’s powerful magnetic field jerked a metal oxygen tank across the room, causing the child’s death. His death galvanized nationwide safety standards and organization in MRI safety.

In 2001, our then-current Radiologist-in-Chief, Dr. Janet Strife asked one of our faculty members, Dr. Blaise Jones, to create a formal MRI Safety program. Twenty years later, using guidelines from the American College of Radiology (ACR) on MRI safety we have implemented several protocols, policies and equipment to aid us in providing MRI safety to our patients, families and staff.

Some of these guidelines include:

  • Safety Zones around the MRI machines
    • Think of it as the closer a person gets to our MRI machines the more restrictions and supervision they receive.
  • Screening
    • Each patient and family member are asked certain questions relating to their health and habits that may impact their MRI scan, such as any implants, pregnancy, aneurysm clips etc.
  • Detectors
    • Equipment that is used to screen our patients of any metal objects on their bodies, before entering the MRI room, such as hairpins, necklaces, earrings, etc.
  • Gowning
    • We require all our patients to wear hospital gowns to prevent them from wearing their own clothing that may have metal pieces, such as studs or flakes, which would distort the MRI scanning process
  • Education
    • Inviting local fire departments to take a class on how to proceed with an emergency inside the MRI room. Educating them that the MR magnet is always on and what procedures to take in order to be safe around the magnet
    • Educating our own hospital security staff also on how to proceed around the MR magnet during an emergency

The list above is just a few of our MRI safety measures that we have put in place in order to keep everyone safe. It shows our commitment to MRI Safety since it first started twenty years ago.

Meredith Towbin, copy editor

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