This year at Cincinnati Children’s we will be honoring MRI Safety Week September 21-25th. Our department has been working hard to keep our patients, families and staff safe with new changes in the MRI department. This week we will not only be showcasing our new safety processes, but we will also be rolling out our new safety education and training for all our hospital employees.
Why is safety in MRI so important?
First, the magnet in the MRI is always on. Second, the magnetic field is 40,000 times stronger than the earth’s gravity. This means even very small non-approved magnetic items brought into the scanner room can become a flying projectile object that can fly up 40 mph depending on shape, size and distance from the scanner. If the magnetically effected item is inside the body, such as metal shavings from grinding, certain color ink used in tattoos, or implanted pacemakers, it can cause harm if not looked into initially. This is why we screen all employees, patients and families to assure non-approved items are not brought into Zone 3 or 4.
One of the new processes we have developed in our department is the acknowledgement of our four safety zones in MRI. You will see these safety zones displayed throughout the department.
Zone 1- This zone has no detectable magnetic field and there is no restriction on access. The public is free to move around without being screened. This zone would include the waiting area and hallways outside of the restricted MRI hallways.
Zone 3- This zone is only one door away from the MRI scanner, which always has its magnetic field on. There could be a detectable magnetic field in this zone. Patients, families, employees, and visitors must first be screened by either one of our MRI core staff or MRI safe staff and have on either an Orange Zone 3 MRI screened sticker or Red Zone 4 MRI screened sticker to enter this area.
Zone 4- This zone is the actual MRI scanner. In this zone you must be accompanied by either an MRI core staff member or MRI safe staff member. You must have already gone through our MRI safety screening and have all items locked up in locker we provide for you. You will also be given a Red Zone 4 MRI safety sticker to be able to enter this zone.
*MRI Core Staff members can be recognized by bright yellow tags on their badges.
*MRI Safe Staff can be recognized by an orange triangle with MR in the middle on their badges.
Notification and education about our departmental zones is just one of the many steps we complete to keep everyone safe, and just one of the various subjects being addressed during 2015’s MRI Safety Week.
Contributed by Laura Hanselman (SPEC-MR QUALITY) and edited by Tony Dandino, (RT-MR).