Safety in the spotlight for MRI Safety Week

Release Date: 24/07/2017

Safety in the spotlight for MRI Safety Week

Radiographers at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital were today marking the start of MRI Safety Week – an event launched in memory of one of the world’s most infamous hospital tragedies.

Six-year-old Michael Colombini was killed in a hospital in America on 27 July 2001 when a portable steel oxygen cylinder was taken into an MRI room while he was undergoing a scan. The cylinder was pulled with deadly force by the magnetic field of the MRI machine, striking the young boy on the head.

The week around that shocking incident has been remembered across the world ever since then, to promote and celebrate excellence in MRI safety – and while RJAH has an excellent safety record, staff are still keen to promote the importance of vigilance.

Dawn Collins, Lead MRI Radiographer at the Oswestry-based hospital, said: “We’re a busy MRI department here at RJAH.

“We operate a Radiologist led on-call service outside of the core hours 365 days a year. We produce approximately 14,000 scans a year.

“We have two scanners here. One is a 1.5 Tesla magnet and the other is a 3 Tesla magnet. That won’t mean much to most people, but we can put it in context by saying that the magnetic field they generate is 30,000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field.

“With strength like that, any metal object, from a chair to something as small as an earring, has the potential to become a missile and the consequences could be catastrophic.

“Our scanners operate seven days a week and run for 12 hours on three of those days. The scanner is never actually switched off, the magnetic field is always operational, so we have to take safety very seriously.

“We have never had a serious incident in our MRI rooms and an event like MRI Safety Week helps to focus minds and make sure we keep it that way.”

Over the course of the week, the MRI team will be running an information stand in the Main Entrance, providing information for patients, visitors, and staff members alike.

A dedicated page has also been set up on the hospital webpage, which includes answers to some of the most frequent questions posed by patients. 

Back to News