Man Dies After Being Sucked Into An MRI Machine

Patient being scanned in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine in a hospital. zlikovec/Shutterstock

An unfortunate series of events involving a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine has led to the death of a man at a hospital in India.

Rajesh Maruti Maru, a 32-year-old, was thrust into the MRI machine on Saturday while he was visiting an elderly relative at the BYL Nair Charitable Hospital in Mumbai, India. As the Hindustan Times reports, the man was apparently told by a junior member of staff to carry a metal cylinder of liquid oxygen into a room containing an MRI machine.

However, the MRI machine was turned on. This caused Maru to be thrust towards it, causing the oxygen tank to rupture and leak. The man later died after inhaling large amounts of oxygen. His body also bled heavily as a result of the accident.

"When we [the hospital staff] told him that metallic things aren't allowed inside an MRI room, he said 'sab chalta hai, hamara roz ka kaam hai' [it's fine, we do it every day]. He also said that the machine was switched off. The doctor, as well as the technician, didn't say anything,” Harish Solanki, Maru's relative, told NDTV.

"It's because of their carelessness that Rajesh died," Solanki added.

Police are currently examining the CCTV footage of the incident and have arrested at least two members of hospital staff for the negligence. The local government has also awarded the man's family 500,000 rupees ($7,855) in compensation.

"We have arrested a doctor and another junior staff member under section 304 of the Indian penal code for causing death due to negligence," Mumbai police spokesman, Deepak Deoraj, told AFP.

MRI scanners use incredibly strong magnetic fields, along with electric field gradients and radio waves, to generate highly detailed 3-dimensional images of the body. That’s why you should remove all metal objects and metallic jewelry before going near one of these machines.

It sounds like a freak accident from an urban legend, but remarkably this kind of accident has happened before. A 6-year-old boy was killed in 2001 by an MRI machine in New York after its magnetism caused an oxygen tank to fly towards him, crushing his skull.

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