In a horror accident, a 60-year-old patient in South Korea died after being hit in the head by a 60 kg oxygen cylinder that was sucked into an MRI machine at a hospital.
The patient was undergoing an MRI scan in a hospital in the southern city of Gimhae. He was admitted there late on Thursday and was suffering from seizures. The man, whose personal details are not yet available was reportedly in a critical condition.
The oxygen cylinder was already on the pallet on which the patient was brought into the suite; during the scan, it was shifted about two meters and was sucked into the device, killing the patient, KBS News reported.
"We're investigating why the oxygen tank was brought into the room," police superintendent Choi Tae-yong told South China Morning Post, adding that the inbuilt oxygen supply system may have been malfunctioning.
"We will thoroughly investigate the incident to determine whether human errors were involved," he added.
According to the authorities, "There are usually no metal objects around it because of the strong magnetic force" and "the hospital also knew about this but explained that the patient was in critical condition at the time and could not [be taken] off the oxygen cylinder."
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, machines are equipped with magnets so powerful that metallic objects like paper clips can turn into lethal projectiles if kept close by.
Similar Tragedies in the Past
This is the second fatal accident in a month involving MRI. In September, a worker was killed when an MRI machine fell to the ground outside University of Utah Hospital in the US.
These kinds of clinical MRI accidents just shouldn't be happening, according to MRI safety advocate Tobias Gilk.
"Despite being a 'never event,' MRI magnetic projectile accidents still continue to happen pretty regularly, and radiology should hang our heads for that," he told AuntMinnie.com. "The fact is that almost nowhere in the world are there actual explicit rules or requirements to follow the long-established best practices that would help prevent exactly this sort of accident."
The event in South Korea echoes a 2018 incident in India where a man died after being sucked into an MRI Machine in Mumbai's Nair Hospital. When the 32-year-old man walked into an MRI with a metal cylinder, the machine's monstrous magnetic field got activated pulling both the man and the cylinder with great force.
It was later reported that the metal detector in the room wasn't working properly and that a hospital staff member was on the phone when the tragic accident occurred.