MRI Safety Week is always celebrated within the month of July because 16 years ago, a six-year-old boy named Michael Colombini was killed in an MRI incident in Valhalla, New York, in July. There was little-to-no MRI safety information at the time and an employee brought a ferrous (containing iron, which will be drawn to a magnetic field) oxygen tank into the MRI room. This caused the tank to be attracted to the magnetic field and it became a projectile missile, causing fatal injuries to the young boy. The world of MRI was forever changed from such unarguable tragedy.
Since 2001, when the horrible accident occurred, the MRI community has been desperately aiming to educate everyone and anyone who may find themselves within or around an MRI machine. Here at Cincinnati Children’s, restriction to the department is limited to those who have completed specific MRI Safety Training and can prove their commitment to keeping the department safe. Anyone, including employees, entering MRI Zone 3 (a zone that may have residual magnetic field effects based off location) will be screened and required to remove all loose magnetic items. Almost all pacemakers and neuro-stimulators are restricted from this same area, but with advancements in medical technology (MRI Safe), this steadfast rule is changing.
To keep up with the constant changes in MRI safety, Cincinnati Children’s is a part of multiple worldwide safety communities, sends employees to safety conferences and training, and meets constantly to discuss in-house safety measures. We celebrate this week to observe the growth of MRI safety throughout the years and to remember why we strive so hard to remove all potential incidents. Every year we promise to honor the progress of MRI safety and continue to put safety in the forefront of everything we do.